Being born Catholic is like being born cancelled
I heard someone once say
From your earliest days you are taught to apologize
For your fallen state
To beg mercy from an authority both benevolent
And capable of a terrifying rage

I realize now, though my faith has changed,
There is wisdom in the saying
To err is human, to forgive divine
For as a human I have erred
And forgiveness is hard to find
Even from myself
My life is like a bookshelf
Filled with volumes, filled with stages
I have lived—and how I’ve aged!

30 year old me cringes reading 20 year old me
And 40 year old me will cringe reading 30 year old me
And 60 year old me will cringe reading 50 year old me
And 80 year old me will cringe reading 70 year old me
And beyond the veil, Dead me
Will cringe while reading Living me

I’m sure that I’ve walked darker ways
Within my mind and heart
While searching for the light
Than within the world at large
And in another kind of life
Someday, perhaps, I’ll have to pay

Yet every moment, every day
I shed my skin—it's a new life that I live
I want to scream that I have changed
And learned the value of Forgive

I’m sorry for the times I’ve laughed
At someone else’s cost
For the judgments that I’ve passed
Gone unsaid, they’re still not lost
Upon my psyche—who I’ve been
And who I still fight, to this day

The ignorance, inherited
A debt which I cannot repay
Change happens from within so
Looking back, it’s hard to see
Who you have been in wild pursuit
Of who you hoped to be
Until you realize that who you are
Is not yet all the you that you could be

And age has made me feel
For those who’ve seen the error of their ways
Born ignorant of everything
We’ve had to learn along the way

And even in a life that’s mean
Some love may be alive
May find a way to grow and change
Some goodness yet may thrive

Separate the wheat from chaff
In both ourselves and others
Saint or sinner? What a laugh!
We’re sisters here, and brothers

Just people stumbling and faltering
Though words and deeds are right or wrong
No life is worth discarding  
For in this world we all belong
So without patronizing
And whether curse or blessing has befallen
Me—I’ll live my life apologizing
For my state of being fallen

I originally shared this over at Phoenix Fire Press on June 09, 2020.