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Overactive Conscience

What will you say when it accuses
every day
every time you slip
and even when you didn't mean
any harm?

What will your answer be
when your ability to cope breaks
when you fear your goodness wasn't good enough
when your actions anger others
or when a shred of your beastliness shows?

Imperfect! It says.
And it is right.

How will you cure this disquietude?
How will you answer the law pressing upon your heart?

The only reason I got like that was because I was hungry. If I'd known we were going to have to wait that long, I would've brought a snack. I should've listened to my intuition about the people running that show. I'll never go to an unplanned outing like that again.

Or:

At least I'm not as bad as those mothers who scream at their kids all day. I try to use a calm voice with my children so as not to transfer my anger.

Or:

But my parents think the world of me. And so does so-and-so. And remember that friend who wrote me that kind email about how big of a help I was to her. I'll read it again. I can't be that bad if they think so highly of me.

Or:

How very interesting! That must also be what's wrong with so-and-so. He can't take a joke because of his vanity. If only he knew about his flaws. Maybe I should tell him.

Or:

You can't hold it against me. I did the best I could. That's all I can do! Do you honestly expect me to be perfect?

Or:

It's all because no one taught me how to do this correctly! If I'd had more-instructive parents, I wouldn't be so ill-equipped for life.

Or:

Sure, I goofed. But I'm not rotten to the core. How can I be when I've made such sacrifices? And whenever I'm with someone, I'm always trying to help them. Sure, I've got a few faults but I'm not selfish.

Thus, the machine runs again
temporary lubricated with excuses
onward a few days
perhaps a week,
until the so-called overactive conscience
starts up again.

Not Enough! It says.
And it is right.

How will you cure this disquietude?
How will you answer God's law
making demands upon your every effort?

Hear now the Answer spoken for always.

Your wrongs have been righted.
And your "rights"s have been too.
No need to decipher
if you're blameless or not.
Never before God will you be
punished, scolded, or humiliated.

So answer your conscience
with, I'm not enough.
And that's alright
because He did it right.
And he is in me
doing right everyday.

That open heart in my infancy
works now
in my maturity
to complete perfection inside imperfection,
so that now these malfunctions,
these paralyzing break downs,
insist I remember and say,
I can't, but you can.
Lord, help
everyday
every time I slip
and even when I don't mean any harm.

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