Simcha Fisher: Letter from a soul in mortal sin

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It’s not you; it’s me. You’ll be amazed to hear.

You’ll be amazed to hear that I have noticed I’m the one who sins; I’m the one who falls for temptations over and over and over again, bathing in mercy and then pulling the plug, over and over again.

As tired as I am of being this way, I guess I’m not too tired yet. Whatever difficulties there are between us? I can see that it’s not you; it’s me.

Here is one thing that at least I have learned: I like that about you. I am absolutely not interested ever again in a God who is like me in all things, including sin.

If I lose my focus (“if!”) and betray you, it’s not because I don’t understand who you are. It’s because I’m weak, pure and simple.

But at least I know that’s what it is. Just like I’m glad for the bleak and exhausting winter because it makes me revel in spring and take extra, intentional draughts of sunny, lilac-scented air, I am glad to see what an unspeakable mess is the dark, dark world I make, so that I will remember to look for the bright morning star, which is you. I need that contrast. It’s not you; it’s me.

I didn’t see the curability of it all. It seemed like what you could offer us, with your sacraments and your elaborate covenants, was an answer to a question that no one asked. Salvation from what? I couldn’t see it.

But we have been together for a long time, off and on. We’ve been together long enough that I know that losing you is not only a loss, it is THE loss, the loss I can’t survive.

Now that I find myself once again wandering in a landscape that is brown and corroded, I am asking you — if it is agreeable to your terms! — to put this wandering in the service of teaching me to want you more.

Maybe just one time, the next time, to turn away from temptation because, as good as it looks, it doesn’t have any YOU in it; and so it’s no good, and soon I’ll know it’s no good. Help me turn away right away, just one time. Just next time.

Do you love me? Are you disappointed? Are you discouraged? Will you get tired of taking me back?

This is no ordinary marriage, with its give and take and growth and contraction and constant correction and overcorrection. You get to choose the terms, and they make no sense. Hosea, I can’t even think about, but you are a spring of mercy.

Mercy only exists in imitation of you. I can sit and receive it, right now, dry as I am, because these are your unreasonable terms.

Apparently these are your terms: You will give and not be diminished; I will receive, and I will not be diminished. If only I can get there.

Even if my actions only mimic the actions of someone on the way to you, I will be oriented rightly, like a skeleton still frozen in prayer because that’s what he was about when his time ran out. I am corroded; I am dry. I have paused time. I am temporarily dead.

But my bones will hold the attitude of repose in you because that is what I want to be when the light come up again.

You are so unreasonble. Your terms make no sense. I’m glad they don’t, you’ll be amazed to hear.

I’m amazed to realize, once again, that it’s not me. It’s you.