I’ve asked God for Pardon. Now I beg your Indulgence
(The Pathway up Mount Purgatory to the Manor House)
You are on your way to an important and once-in-a lifetime meeting with someone you have adored for years. They know everything about you and you’ve lived your whole life only imagining what this person will be like up close and personal. As you make your way up the long and winding road on foot to their manor house, you are encouraged by the signs pointing you in the right direction.
In fact, there is only one road to your destination although there are countless little dirt tracks here and there going to God knows where. As tempting as these distractions are, you are determined to keep going straight.
As you begin to get tired, there are little towns and villages along the way to eat and drink to regain your strength. There's also water fountains to drink from and even wash up a bit. From everyone you meet on the way, you are told and encouraged to keep to the main road and you’ll get there.
But inevitably there is often that long stretch of the road between places where we often become conscious of our sore feet, our heavy backpack, our fading energy and a longing for something substantial in our stomachs. During those times, it’s helpful to have a little indulgence, such as a protein bar or little snack that we delightfully find in a pocket. It’s a little boost of energy and encouragement to keep on going. And that you do.
But what about your shoes? Did I invest in the right type for the road I’m walking? But these are the only shoes I have and the soles are becoming weak and wearing out. Do I arrive at the gates of the manor house with soggy socks, blistering feet and holes in my soles? My heart may be in the right place but my mind is in anguish. I am conscious of my overall shabbiness. How can I restore my graceful appearance as I present myself to him that I long to meet?
Finally I arrive at the end of the road. I am met by the gardener (who doubles as the gatekeeper). He lives in a little house just outside the gates of the mansion. His name is Peter. He compliments me on my health and strength to make it up the long hill on foot and he congratulates me on my discipline and commitment.
But looking at me from head to toe he says, “Have you seen yourself in a mirror? You don’t really want to go up to the manor house in wrinkled travel clothes and worn out scruffy shoes? Do you?” “Of course, I want to be presentable,” I replied, “But this is all I have”. And then it occurs to me that I have family and friends who could send me fresh clothes and new shoes. And because I was so close to opening the gates and walking up to the front door of the manor house, I could beg their indulgence to send fresh clothes and new shoes to me at this address. Maybe, they could make a little bit of a sacrifice and get overnight shipping! It’s just a thought, a secret prayer and hope.
I mention this to Peter. The plan seems reasonable enough. “And in the meantime, while you wait,” he says, “why don’t you stay with me in my guest room and rest up a bit. I’ll light a little fire in the guestroom so you can dry out a little? And I’ll call the manor house and inform them that you’re here and to expect you soon.”
The little guest room was small and drafty. The mattress was as hard as nails, and the fireplace gave out more smoke than heat. It was more a penance than a blessing but I was grateful.
Inside my little room I was comforted by the fact that from one window I could see the manor house up ahead where I knew they were expecting me and from another window, a view of the road from where I was waiting for my delivery of fresh clothes and new shoes. This brought me a sense of great hope which allowed me, in my little travelers’ lodge, at least a chance to rest in peace until the morning of when a new day began and I could then finally open the gate and walk up the pathway to the manor house.