The past is gone, but, with God, it is never lost, and can never hold us back from now.
From my youth I have pressed my own purpose,
Living as I wished, coasting on health and vigour,
Freely using all the gifts, given by another’s hand,
Heedless of dues, and obligation’s rightful rigour.
Where has my purpose led? What profit mine?
From my store of numbered days I have drawn
With abandon, and little thought for the morrow,
Less still for that day when life’s span is gone.
I called You ‘Lord’, but served not Thee but me.
Lip service was the sum of my paltry efforts.
And Your patience gave me rope to pay out,
As I tried to lasso life’s tantalising trinkets.
All the while You waited with sore longing,
Knowing the loss caused by my arrant vanity;
That great need in my brothers for my love,
That I should be all that You called me to be.
The many days gone by are lost to me now,
But never lost to You who are beyond all time.
Can You redeem the sins of long ago; even
What failed to be – my omission and my crime?
Lord, for yesterday and its deeds, I need to pray.
Today, in this graced moment, I need to mourn,
And do penance, and strive to do differently, for
Your forgiveness is now: this is the blessed dawn!
For I can face the past, and glimpse with honesty,
The years of waste and the waste of years, knowing
That this knowledge will not crush me – for You
Offer the open hand of a gracious new beginning.
For as long as I have breath, Your forgiveness
Is there for me: total, immediate, with no strings
Attached. Absolutely no strings attached, save
To say yes to what Your unconditional love brings.
For You see my sorry past, my brief responses
To love’s invite, and You dwell within my core,
Knowing me as I can never know, warts and all;
Yet You love me now just as You loved me before.
And You will never change Your mind about me,
Delighting to see the child You loved into being,
Choosing to throw my sins behind Your back,
As You wait for my frozen heart to start thawing.
All my life I have pressed my own purpose.
May You now press me in Your divine mould:
Gently, lovingly, with the Spirit’s subtle grace,
That I may be… what You intended from of old.