Advent — December 22 — Jacob Marley

God, thank you for the jacob marleys
in my life,
the people who warn me
because of their tough times
and their mistakes.

Many of mine sit in church basements
in a circle of chairs
and live by twelve steps
and twelve traditions.

Others are therapists,
whose lives are never perfect,
parole officers, teachers.

Some damaged their relationship
with partner, parent, child –
and say to me –
don’t let this go deep and old.

Some lived their work
and missed fishing or dancing,
or, most of all, hanging an ornament
on a Christmas tree.

God, thank you for jacob marleys,
dragging their clanking remorse
through my heart,

painting their faces
on my door knocker
until I notice
what I’m doing with my life.

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