I have a very bad habit of keeping my library books for longer than the allotted borrowing period. Sometimes it is because I haven’t had the time to read them, but more often than not it is simply because I have neglected to remain aware of when they were due. Time gets away from me. If you know me personally, you know that – more often than not – I am apt to run late. I’m not particularly proud of that, but I have come to accept it as a quirk of my personality, or perhaps of my lifestyle, although it is one that I am constantly fighting.
I used to be embarrassed every time I had to approach the library counter and pay my fines, but then a friend told me something that changed my perspective: librarians don’t mind. “As long as the books are returned, your fines are adding to the ability for the library to continue to function and to purchase additional materials for their collection.” So apparently my habit of lateness is benefiting someone…? Not really a suitable excuse to continue down the path of a procrastinator, but at least a small degree of absolution.
Time continues to advance. We are expected to be certain places at specific times, posts are expected to be published, books are expected to be returned… Punctuality is a virtue that I have yet to master, but it is one that I continue to strive for. I hate keeping people waiting, and I abhor falling short of expectations. But if the librarian can forgive me, surely I can dig deep enough within to find forgiveness for myself.
Here is my thought process: Do what you can when you can. Know that you are worthy of your own best effort, and of your own forgiveness when that effort falls short of the ideal. For some of us, embracing the practice of compassion for the self is yet another item that is long overdue.