Poison Pie Publishing House: A Prayer for Those Guilty of Irresponsibility

A Prayer for Those Guilty of Irresponsibility

Lord, when I contemplate Your cruelty,
as men have done innumerable times
before me, I too consider the presence
of evil. However, the ubiquitous misery

of the mortal lot does not cause me
to doubt either Your existence
or Your goodness. I know as well
as any other that the best of plans

go astray, especially when left
to the devices of those who did
not craft the blueprints themselves
and hence have less understanding

of their workings, and less at stake
in the fortunes of their success
or failure. On the contrary, I believe
You meant well. Yet, mired

as we are in the suffering
of the innocent (a few guilty as well),
I sense the subtle pressure of your gaze.
Why do you fix me with an accusatory air?

I didn't make this mess. I was
only deposited here by those
who most assuredly neither asked
nor received my consent in the matter.

That I am here at all is as much
an accident as anything else. Still,
I feel guilty for not helping clean
this mess up. I resent You, O Lord,

for You alone are the source of this guilt.
If I do little to contribute to a remedy,
understand that my inaction is not due
to sloth, for I find no comfort in idleness,

nor to indifference, for I ruin
myself with the refusal to assuage
the distress of those who clearly suffer.
Rather, by default, I do not participate

because the world is old, the mess
is colossal, my efforts will be poorly
applied, my motives will be second-guessed,
I will be upbraided for neglecting

the tasks I correspondingly abandoned,
and, as soon as I start, I will regret
having gotten involved in the whole
ugly business in the first place.

Let this task fall to someone else,
a better person, an angel, perhaps.
Only by observing the selfless labor
of someone, superior in this quality,

do I suspect that I might be induced
to pitch in. Lord, place that someone
in my midst. For as bad as this prayer
makes it sound, the reality is worse.

A Prayer for Those Guilty of Irresponsibility
David Keffer
Knoxville, TN
October 24, 2014