I read these words this morning. It put me in mind of a confession box in the Roman Catholic Church. I grew up in a Roman Catholic household although we weren’t strict about our faith. I progressed through all the rites of passage necessary – first confession and first communion. The communion bit was fine. The confession bit less so. My confessions were very superficial and quite often fictional. I racked my brain to come up with things to confess, things that would satisfy the priest, but never really touched on the real stuff. The real stuff at the time featured doubts about God’s existence and, after having read Eric Von Daniken’s book, “Chariot of the Gods”, my growing obsession that God was really an alien visitor to the planet. There were other things – impure thoughts about Gary Hyman, the gorgeous boy in my class, and what I would really like to do to the bullies that made my life hell. I kept those things under wraps. They were too beautiful, too painful, too unformed or too ugly to share.
Doing the washing up this morning God asked, “What would you confess to right now if you were in that confessional box? What would you say? Would you parade the superficial stuff or the fictional stuff today? Or would you confess the truth?”
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” Psalm 32:3-4
Keeping silent is never a good thing. Things ignored don’t often go away the way we would like them to. Maybe just the speaking things out to another human being is enough to defuse the bomb that builds up inside.
I have to confess to being angry.
Yesterday afternoon – this is stupid, I know, but it touched a raw spot. We’ve had some wonderfully dry weather and the garden is breaking out in growing thing, weeds mostly and grass. It’s not knee high. Every neighbour was out there mowing, weeding and painting gates. Even the wee boy next door was doing his bit with a bright yellow plastic gardening fork. I was reading a book. Later that afternoon I noticed that someone had cast a pair of gardening gloves on to my unmown front lawn. They weren’t new. They didn’t come with a price tag still attached but I read a message in them – sort your garden out, woman!
In my more reasonable moments I think I believe it’s not a deliberate action. It’s the kid next door, the kid with the yellow plastic gardening fork throwing things, more like. I’m not always that reasonable. I confess to being angry. I’m not quite sure who I’m directing my anger towards = probably myself. We don’t possess a working lawn mower so there are practical issues involved. I think Joe and I must live in a “Bermuda Triangle” kind of place – lawn mowers just stop working for no reason at all once they come through the garden gate. I am angry with myself that I like reading books more than I like doing my garden. I like reading books more than I like doing a lot of other thigs too – housework for instance. If we were a hotel we would have been closed down long ago.
So, yes, I confess to being angry. Angry about the lazy streak in me. Angry, perhaps, about other people pointing it out!