Repentance At Night
I cannot sleep tonight. My pillow is wet with tears, my bed is crumpled with my grief. I am not weeping for fear of man or weakness or self-pity. I lie awake at night because I know I have been mean with you, and that thought breaks my heart and defeats my sleep.
I could not imagine, at that unhappy moment in the day when my conscience blacked out and the evil deed was wantonly done, that its shadow was going to grow so fast on me, destroy my mood and ruin my sleep. And I cannot imagine now how I can have forgotten you at that fateful moment, and acted as if you did not exist, as if you were not in my neighbour whom I will knew I was wronging. I did it coldheartedly, as all do it in the harsh competition of this ruthless world. I did it too, and thought I would get away with it.
But with the night the flimsy support of the surrounding hypocrisy faded away, and I was left alone with my conscience and my deed and the tears on my pillow. I am weary with sorrow, and that is not a made-up feeling of repentance but the naked realization that if I have failed you so badly and unexpectedly today, I can do it again any time any day and where does that leaves me? How can I trust myself anymore? How can I say that I love my neighbour if I hurt him so easily? And if I don’t love my neighbour, how can I say I love you? And if I cannot say I love you, how can I sleep?
My vigil today is not penance but love, is not to implore pardon, but to create awareness, or rather, yes, it is to implore pardon in the shape of healing, to ask for mercy, and the greatest mercy which is grace not to do it again.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am weak; heal me,my very bones are shaken; my soul quivers in dismay.
Come back, O Lord, set my soul free; deliver me for your love’s sake. The Lord has heard my entreaty; the Lord will accept my prayer. The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.