Today I am weary and my soul feels heavy. I feel the weight of choices made long ago and question if they were right. It catches me off-guard, this odd dread, not my usual comrade. As though my skin is a little bit thinner today, everything just under the surface.
For some reason, I see the list before me of friends I have not kept in touch with or cared for well. With every name I explain the mitigating circumstances for, another rises to take its place. I see these failures of my generosity and grace before me, an endless monotonous intoning of all I cannot atone for. I take deep breaths and force my mind to focus on one image at a time. I speak soothing words to my soul until it stills.
The words that soothe are not the excuses of busyness or distance, however relevant they may be. These are lame and insubstantial, flickering neon that fades as I stare at it. The words that soothe are very simple. There is forgiveness for me.
Not an excuse to justify or validate, but someone else’s righteousness to cover my own filthy rags. For all the swirling words, what I long for is not a written vindication of my deeds or a slickly spoken pronouncement of all the reasons why my balance is even. Clever words which let me off the hook will never do, words which render what I have done acceptable in the ledger.
I long instead for the one who suffered silently, who had only words of innocence to speak and yet who bore my guilt instead. The guilt for my lifetime of lack. Words spoken in haste, as well as words not written or said. Words I can’t take back or give any longer. He bore the guilt of all my undone things, loose ends trailing behind me as life slinks forward. The things that threaten to trip me up, he has severed from my load.
He suffered for me, and he gives me his righteousness. I understand this now in a way I never did before, but I hope never to understand it in such a way that does not make my heart constrict, leap, swell.
Somehow the written vindication for his deeds, is mine. His act of balancing applied to my ledger.
This weight I feel was borne by him. Even this silly Wednesday weight that speaks of fickleness and forgetfulness and frailty and fear. These things that weigh down my soul were carried by another and the cost was not an off-feeling and a sensitivity beneath the surface of a day, which eventually subsides. The cost was a life, a death for sin that was not his own, a death deserved by me.
The edges of my soul rustle restlessly at this news. And yet there is a beauty in the heaviness that I sit with for a moment. A reminder of the detail of what he bore for me. An ache about it that is often blithely absent. And a settling, soothing surety that freedom has come and that this pressing weight is no longer mine to sink beneath.
“How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered! How joyful is the man the Lord will never charge with sin!” Romans 4: 7-8 & Ps 32: 1-2.