Shrove Tuesday

I used to wonder what “Shrove” meant.
I thought of boats shrove up on shore.
Or a boat shrove in on the rocks.
Maybe a shrove of wheat.
Or the shrove you put over a dead body.

Then I learned to shrive is to hear a confession,
and to grant absolution,
and to impose penance.
Which, all together, are as mixed up as before.
If I really grant absolution—forgiveness—
there is no penance, no obligation.

But maybe to shrive means
to see clearly, you and me together,
what is out of harmony in my life,
and see together how to get in tune.
To see what gets in the way of perfect love
and to start to move it out of the way
so by God loving in me I can be perfected in love.

Confession is being mindful:
I am becoming pure love,
still on the way.

God, I am sorry: I am pretty messed up.
“Oh, child, you’re more messed up than you think.
But you’re mine, and I love you, and you’re lovely.
Now let’s work on this.”

   —March 5, 2019

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