Three Things (I Didn’t Do)

Three Things (I Didn’t Do) (1,259)

September 4, 2011

If the only thing necessary to procure employment at the dummy corporation is to provide proof of foolish deeds, I could start work tomorrow. Yes, indeed, I have acquired much ridiculous in the pursuit of the sublime On the way to the unethical, I have trounced upon morality, passing through sin, to arrive, amazingly unharmed, in the land of futile attempts.

Having achieved the status, I can tell you of a certainty that the only thing the human races shares in common is failure. It crosses gender, color, social status, political parties and denominations. It is not that I wear my iniquity as a badge of honor, but rather, as a free pass granted to the amusement park of God’s mysterious grace.

But on this Sabbath morning, what I celebrate are the three things I didn’t do—because as precarious as my deeds have often left me on the slippery slope of scaling the mountain of effort, I am particularly and humbly proud of the three things I didn’t do.

If I had actually enacted any one of these three things, I would have found myself mercifully forgiven by a bewildered God and permanently ostracized by a community of fellow-travelers. I am so glad I didn’t. I am so happy that in some moment of either strength or fortunate fear, I avoided these three desperate and duplicitous actions. For after all, human beings do occasionally forgive, but they never forget. That is an attribute only found in the bosom of the Divine. And because people don’t forget, we end up wearing more remnants of our past than any one of us might wish to don.

These three would have been crosses beyond my bearing.

But you see, the beauty is, I don’t have to. The glory of my existence lies in the jubilant revelation that this morning I am able to write this essay to you—friends I have collected from all over the world—because you don’t have to deal with three pieces of my idiocy that would certainly cause you to avoid me. I don’t know how I escaped these three dangers. I don’t know whether, if they were presented to me today, I would give in to the temptation. But I didn’t—and have no intention of going anywhere near the doorstep of their possibility. I am cured of curiosity. I am without need of proving my prowess. I am overjoyed that even though I have a speckled past, it is not permanently blotted and stained.

You know the wonderful thing about redemption? You don’t have to keep doing it over and over again. Oh, it may be a nice thing—to renew your vows or to confirm your status from time to time, but once you have escaped the wrath of judgment, you no longer need to worry about the hounds tracking you down in the nearby swamp.

I am free—and today, I am mainly liberated because there are three things I didn’t do. There is this glorious group of actions which were avoided by me, allowing me to walk in mercy because I obtained it.

Do you feel the same way? In the midst of your pending despair or dipping self-esteem, can you stop for one blessed moment and tip your glass to the universe and say “thank you that I was not party to that particular brand of insanity?”

For you see, I don’t feel self-righteous. As I told you, given the opportunity again, I might just go as a docile sheep to the slaughter. This is why I refuse to place myself in such danger. But it does afford me a chance to believe that we mortals are not nearly as dastardly and devilish as the theologians believe, nor as destitute of smarts as society might theorize.

We have possibility. And it is that possibility I revel in this morning—because repentance does provide absolution. And the root of the word “absolution” is absolve. And “absolve,” to me, sounds very much like “dissolve.” And when the penitent are granted reprieve, their evil disappears in an ocean of God’s gentle tide.

But every once in a while we can, for a brief moment, be grateful that we didn’t need to bother our heavenly Father with our latest prank. No, we just succeeded in not doing it. And I am so happy to report to the family of man today that there are three things I didn’t do and because I didn’t, it has made all the difference—and allows me to stride with a bit of cautious confidence towards the blessed horizon.

And you know the most wonderful thing about the whole process?

I don’t ever have to tell you what the three things are.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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