I was looking through my journal to get some inspiration from a book I’d read that I’ve been meaning to share with you and came upon my first confession. This was written on April 2nd 2012.
Here’s what I wrote:
The past few days have been a mix of gifts and things to ponder more deeply. I made confession for the first time yesterday. The priest was quick to stop me after I began to cry to tell me that I have to understand that forgiveness means forgiving myself too. Not to keep carrying my guilt around. I thought I was crying for joy at letting go, as sad as I was, but of course with perspective, I was crying for my guilt. Lamenting and mourning over it like a dead person in front of me; ceremoniously speaking of it like an ode. In a way, presenting it like a sacrifice that I was sad to let go of. Did I cry because I’d miss the guilt I had nursed so long and knew so well? Was I ashamed? Relieved? I don’t know. Maybe a mix of all of that.
My annulment came through in record time. I wasn’t upset at the possible delay of my full acceptance into the Catholic Church. I’ve lived on my time. My measuring stick and now it was time to live by His. In His perfect time and will. My surrender to His will in this was comforting and freeing. I feel like He new the peace I had about it and granted it to me because I wasn’t obsessed or angry or worried about it.
Today was my friend A’s dad’s funeral. As I sat in the pew alone and prayed to God, I looked at her family, knowing the turmoil of the father and brother, not speaking to one another, the secret addictions of the mother (prescription drugs and hoarding) and daughter, A trying to balance them all, stay healthy for the child in her womb and her young daughter. I thought of my own mother and father. I was comparing the hidden havoc of misunderstood souls and how time was the victor of it all. Time. The more time that goes by, the closer death is, the easier not speaking is, the older children get, the easier the mind forgets, and maybe, just maybe the heart softens enough to forgive. I was sad for my friend and told her I loved her. I checked my phone on the way home and had a message from my mother. The woman I hadn’t spoken to for years. She said “Despite whatever differences we may have, I love you and I need you to know that.”/ The sentiment I shared with A and my mother with me are in the same vain. The timing is not lost on me at all. Nor are my priests’ words from the confessional.
I called my mother back and left her a voice mail that I felt the same way and also mentioned to her where I was at the moment she called. Who knows if she’ll call me back or not. Yes, of course I scrutinized why she called, what the motives were and what she really wanted. Do I dislike myself so much that I can’t believe it’s just to make sure I know? I don’t know if we’ll ever have a trusting relationship, let alone a functioning one. But, I think I know He’s a part of this and I trust Him. Hes showing me something. I think, like the Eucharist, I have to gnaw on it a little more to get the marrow of it, of the bone, so to speak. I really am trying to ingrain my priest’s advice though. I am washed clean, a fresh start, a clean slate. Could it be the Lord means my mother is too?
There are very few people who realize what God would make if them if they abandoned themselves into his hands and let themselves be formed by his grace. – St. Ignatius
This day, I ask for the grace to entrust myself totally to God’s love. To give without holding back.
* * *
Today, my mother and I are still not speaking. We were for a time, but we are back to silence.
Today, I am still trying not to carry around the guilt.
Today, I am still trying to entrust myself wholly to God.
Today, I am still trying living according to God’s measuring stick and not mine.
I will always try, and He loves me for that. You too…