The cold stone in front of the black cast-iron stove, I can still feel the chill, rough hardness of it against my kneeling knees. Particles floating in the stream of amber light sneaking through the curtains even now swirl around me. It is still. Silence, outside my thoughts, covers me. I know the truth in my heart. I know I am younger than most would believe capable of understanding the commitment I’m about to make. I also know that this is something to be performed without a witness, a conversation between a soul and its Creator.
It’s a moment I find myself returning to. Often, to measure my progress or lack thereof, to take stock of who I am. Other times, I am in that moment to be in that communion again. It is with that moment that I uncover my soul and weigh it. The promise made that day is long unfulfilled. My will has not strengthened through the years; I am not as sternly resolute as I was. Compromise and rationalization have left me short of the covenant I made.
The faith remains, the love remains, the gratitude remains in spite of the bitter fruits of my travels. But I have faltered and stumbled along the way. Fell well short of keeping on the narrow path and always doing the right things. Admitting such things is hard. To know that I have shamed myself through selfishness and fear is a poison.
I ache to be better. I yearn for constant self-improvement and personal evolution. This is what I hope for, and this is where I falter. I feel the weight of my regret for my actions and inaction through the journey of life, mooring my soul to the shores of my baser self. So in fits and starts, I pull against the anchor hoping to break free and sail the waters to a me more reflective of my Savior. To be kinder, more compassionate, more resolute, more attentive, more a human being his potential. No longer just the beast of man.
My six-year-old self would not understand the current me. He would be a bitter critic and I love that about him. He held more wisdom and fire than his antecessors. He knew.