Sinners and Saints

I am a sinner living amongst saints. That is not to say I am an evil person. In fact, if asked to describe myself, I would offer up descriptors such as empathetic, loyal, pleasant, loving, and caring. But none of these characteristics override the fact that there are moments in my life where I have failed to live up to these ideals so monumentally that forgiveness is not an option.

It’s often said we all have skeletons in our closets. My closet has living, breathing bodies of accusation and condemnation. They stand daily in judgment of my past and trip me up constantly in any hope I might have of a future. They know things my closest friends don’t, and if they did, they wouldn’t be my closest friends or any friends at all, for that matter. There is simply such an evil pale cast over my past that I am incapable of fully living in the present.

By now you are certainly wondering exactly what it is that I could have done that is evil writ so large as to paralyze me so. Does it really matter that you know? If it does, I am sorry to disappoint you. But much like the urban myth that chanting, “Candyman” three times in a mirror will unleash unspeakable evil upon an individual, so might uttering my sins even once unleash an equal tragedy. I can’t risk it. But for the sake of making my point, feel free to imagine the one thing you could never forgive, and go ahead and imagine that to be the case. It’s a lot less painful for both of us.

I have no hope for the future, at least not any hope of being anything more than the mediocre person my sins condemn me to. I cannot become rich or famous as either would find me out. I cannot love too deeply because once someone gets too close, I have to move on. It is a miserable plain of existence that I live upon, and at times I have felt greatly like calling it a proverbial day. But no, I carry on, seeking only to experience isolated moments of happiness and joy. Though my most grievous sins are thirty years past, they are as close as a look over my shoulder, and they make breathing freely hard.

When I say I am living among saints, that is not to imply that others are without their own evil. I mean that by comparison to my own crimes, they are above reproach. I live amongst these saints, and if an outsider looking in were to observe, I’d blend right in and look saintly as well. But from me, the insider looking out, I know the monumental difference. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?