Too late to step aside from misery, the lashes of experience endured
and struck again, before the flesh begins to mend; too late for all the
yesterdays misspent — I turn to you, O God.
Too late to follow where you would have led, to reconcile the enmity
or raise the dead; too late for sympathy to curb a spate of bitter
words that burn their way into the heart, where they find tinder
easy to convert to hate, consuming everything that waited helplessly
to be redeemed.
Too late to do as Mother said, to eat my peas and carrots and forswear
ambrosia in the form of Baby Ruth and Butterfinger meals instead
of sustenance that deeply satisfies and nourishes and heals.
Too late to save a penny for a rainy day, though roiling clouds
foretell tomorrow’s storm; too late to scorn temptation, to reflect
that what I spend on this or that alluring bagatelle could purchase
pleasure more enduring and profound. Too late for wisdom now to
temper or forestall an ill-considered whim, to mediate despair and
mania. Too late to choose a sane and reasoned course when seized
by circumstances daunting in their urgency. Too late to save some
candles for emergencies and their peremptory demands.
Perversely born unwise and unprepared for life, equipped with
little but the instinct to survive and with a physical response to
stimuli, how is it that, unreasoning, immobile, nearly blind, we human
creatures do not die upon the birthing bed? It might be said,
Too early we emerge.
And yet the baby’s urge to eat and drink is fed; her need for
warmth is met; her incoherent cry for something she cannot
supply is heard. She doesn’t wonder why, not then; she just accepts
the nourishment, and when her thirst and hunger are assuaged, she
sleeps with no anxiety for all the days ahead, nor does she lie awake
and rue her lack of understanding or her randomly expressed demands.
O God, I place my yesterdays and my tomorrows in your hands.