Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Confession Wednesday

I watch the movie Titanic only up to the point right before they hit the iceberg and then I turn it off.

I can eat an entire package of Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Milano cookies in less than 20 minutes.

I’ve been feeling myself up quite a bit since the new boobs arrived.
As this Year of Traveling Lightly winds down, I'm thinking about confessions.

Why is the act of confession so liberating? Why do we feel better after unloading our deep, dark secrets?

It’s liberating, I guess. But it’s more than that.

Whether you’re confessing to your best friend or to an entire anonymous web world, it’s all about the physical act of letting your secret go. Letting off the weight of a mental burden.

Maybe it’s because we feel most human when we are admitting our greatest weaknesses and failures. Putting it out there makes it seem less bad somehow. Makes us less bad somehow.

Makes us seem less alone.
“If you haven’t gone to confession, please raise your hand now,” said the stern little nun visiting the Saturday catechism class at St. Peter’s church in Mount Clemens. “You can’t have First Communion without going to confession. If you haven’t done it yet, you need to come with me now.”

Little Hedy didn’t raise her hand. She shrunk down in her seat. And broke out in a cold sweat.

But she didn’t move. Even though she’d missed the previous Saturday when the entire class had gone to confession for the first time.

So you lied to a nun about going to confession?


Six years old and already damned to hell for eternity.
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” asked my friend Bill last year during one of his visits to Chicago.

You’d think after knowing each other for 20 years he’d know, but he didn’t.

So I told him.

“Oh, c’mon,” he said. “There’s gotta be something worse than THAT.”

And you know what? He was right.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Almost Famous.

A major scene near the end of the movie involves all the main characters on a plane that appears about to crash. Assuming they’re about to die, each person admits something profound to the group – ranging from love for everyone on the plane and stealing money from the band to sleeping with each other’s girlfriends and hitting a pedestrian and driving away.

The plane doesn’t crash. But those confessions serve as a bit of a catharsis for everyone.

Does confession make things better? For whom? All the time?

If you had to confess the worst thing you’ve ever done to your significant other would it make things better or worse? What about your parents? Would it change things?
So there’s Hellbound Little Hedy who willfully lied to a nun.

Then there’s Precocious Hedy who, at six years old, already knew the whole thing was bullshit and was putting her defiant foot down on a lifelong path to enlightenment.

I think the truth behind the unfortunate confession incident is much simpler and somewhere more towards the middle on that little moral continuum.

I was afraid of nuns. I was afraid of making a spectacle of myself.

Although, you’d think the fear of eternal damnation would’ve made me leap outta my seat, anxious and ready for salvation.

So maybe a part of me did know it was bullshit after all.

Either way, having confessed it, I feel lighter.
I am listening to: Charlie Brown Christmas
I am reading: Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong
And I am: Unfettered