Home > Uncategorized > Though You’ve Broken Your Vows a Thousand Times

Though You’ve Broken Your Vows a Thousand Times

I’ve started going to church regularly again. I used to go “religiously”, but gradually dropped out over the past two or three years. I don’t always enjoy the services, but I like the people and I want to be part of the community.

This past Sunday we sang a song called “Come, Come Whoever You Are”. We often sing it, usually near the beginning of the service, as a welcome, or ingathering. The words are based on a Rumi poem:

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times.

Come, yet again, come, come.

One line of the poem/song really affected me. We sing it as “Though you’ve broken your vows a thousand times”. The gist is that whoever you are, however you have fallen short of who you want to be, you are accepted and you are welcome. The song, because of this line, brought tears to my eyes.

How many times have I broken promises, usually to myself, and sworn not to do it again—only to break that promise too? How many times have I disappointed myself, bitterly, time and time again, for not measuring up in one way or another? How deeply do I long to be forgiven and have the slate wiped clean?

I’m all for self-improvement. I always seem to be on some kind of self-improvement kick, and I believe I have become a better person for it over the years. But what about accepting myself as I am—a work in progress? I may not yet be the person I want to be, but I’m not the person I used to be.

I’m also coming to see that some of the things that have not changed by now are just not going to change, and I will be happier if I stop promising myself that I will change some day. I will probably never be a morning person, so I may as well stop beating myself up for not being one. I will never be a good housekeeper and keep my living space spotless, so I may as well stop thinking that will happen some day, and stop thinking less of myself because of it. I am becoming more realistic about which promises I am likely to be able to keep and more forgiving when I fall short.

So, I will go on making carefully chosen promises in good faith and trying hard to keep them. And forgiving myself if I fail. My goal is progress, not perfection.

Take care of yourselves


  1. Jen
    May 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I have been telling myself to start going back to mass as I feel something missing in my life. This post is inspiring me to actually do it.

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