Nu, so would a little atonement hurt?

I promise, not too much, only what you can handle. And it’s for your own good. Honestly.

Does that make you feel better? Good, good. Because God forbid you should feel the least bit uncomfortable while atoning.

Let me tell you something. All of you. You want it nicey-nice. You don’t want to feel bad about yourself. Not for a minute, not for a New York second. And why should you? What did you have to do with this mess we’re in? Nothing, right? Oil, me? Just a drop, enough for salad dressing, and that’s it.

Did I spend resources on some vanity while people elsewhere starve? Was I too busy to vote?

Did I profit at another’s loss? Well, maybe, once, maybe twice, well who’s counting, but I didn’t know about it. That makes it all okay. Doesn’t it?

Ah, ah, ah! Don’t shoot the messenger because you felt a twinge of something. If you want to feel bliss all the time, go find yourself another religion.

I know you did that already. Do you think I don’t know? The Holocaust was too scary and unpleasant. America was rich with opportunity. For all the good it did you.

Am I upsetting you? Well, please, be my guest. Sit down, meditate, focus on the love and light. Where’s your yoga mat?

Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’m not going to try to make you take personal responsibility. God forbid that anyone should suggest that you had anything to do with this horrible mess.

You had nothing to do with it– the Gulf Oil spill, the wrecked economy, the teetering democracy, climate change, rising rates of illness, electing shoddy politicians.. buying into the consumer culture.

It just happened while you were going about your life. Can we agree to that? I know you recycle plastic. Yes, you made a donation. Very nice, You stood up and gave your seat. Your boss isn’t the easiest…you did a juice fast? Twice? I’m sure every little bit counts but— listen, listen, it’s not me you have to convince. I’m on your side, remember?

I know that you were just trying to get by. You even did some good, like– well whatever it was. That thing, whatever, that you’re so proud of. You know the one I mean.

Well don’t let me burst your bubble, but since we’re atoning here, just one word. Whatever it was you did, or tried to do, Big Deal that you are, it wasn’t enough, was it? Because we’re still in this pickle.

That’s why I’m suggesting atonement, repentance, taking stock, whatever you want to call it. Make up a new name, I don’t care. At-onement. See, almost as good as forgiveness– except for yourself. You don’t even have to feel genuinely sorry about your contribution to this big mess. All you have to do is “work on yourself.” Easy, right?

Americans. Always want to be happy. No matter what. The worse environmental accident in the history of earth– I’m still feeling good! Deadlock in government. I’m one with the universe. No health care for millions of people. Hugs and blessings! The next generation is beset with sickness. La-di-da! Tomorrow will be a better day.

God forbid, that you should atone, that you should repent, that for one minute you should look at the whole picture and how you are part of it and see what it adds up to.

Why break your heart? What good would it do?

You only pray for a shoo-in. A tough job, like setting the world right and doing our part every day, rather than phoning it in to some group grope love fest– that’s too hard.

Tell me something, do you even know how to ask for help?

Not help for you to attract love, power, money, success, a parking spot, or even a coincidence, as in wink, wink, now I can believe that there is something greater than myself. No. Not asking as if all you have to do is design it in your head and picture it and that automatically turns it into your divine right, Mr or Ms Big Shot. Is the world here to convince you?

Repenting means to get down on your knees, to say oh I am so so sorry if I only knew, dear God whomever or whatever, please, please, please help me make it right.

Can you find the tears? Can you see the dead sea creatures, the shifting ocean currents, the sick children, the changing tide of these times and not shed a tear? Your own little plans for your self? What would it feel like to kiss them goodbye? Is there just one little tear you can offer to the earth as a promise. Did anyone ever teach you how to do that..?

Don’t do it for me. Don’t do it even for God. But through your tears or through dry eyes too frozen to weep tears, look, look, look at the little ones, the ones under the age of six. They are the next generation. Look at the world we are giving them. Look at all that needs to be made right.

Do it for them, for all the creatures, for wildlife, plants, and all living things. Do it for the living rushing waters. Offer atonement to all life on earth.

Do it to be honest with yourself. Not happy with yourself, but honest with yourself.

Then look into the eyes of one child, for their sake, can you find a way to say:

If I have contributed
If I have forgotten
If I have failed to protect you,
I repent, I repent, I repent,
and I promise before all I hold most dear
to do not one small thing,
but to do big things, uncomfortable things, tough things, every day.
I promise to use the life and breath I’ve been given
to do Everything
to make it right
for thy sweet sake.

Amen.