warning, gross content.
Remember, I warned you.
Hmm. Wordpress Dictionary doesn’t know about fear of germs, or about itself. Interesting.
I hate going to the bathroom. It’s one of those parts of being human that’s just gross. I can make it all clinical sounding: expelling solid and liquid waste materials. That doesn’t make it any less gross as an experience. That said, I’m thankfully regular as a clock. But the whole experience. As much as I disliked cleaning my kids up before potty training, and when they were/are sick, doing it for myself is somehow worse.
That uncomfortable feeling before you go. The “warning salvos.” That sense of urgency. The cramping muscles. The stench. The waiting for completion. And then the clean up. Ever gotten shit on your hand? You can’t see very well down there; hard telling what you’ll run into or where it’ll go. Then you have to wipe your hand off to wipe the rest of yourself off. It’s not as bad cleaning a baby, you can see everything and know you’re getting it. In the modern era there are gloves and sanitary wet baby wipes. But gloves wouldn’t help if I’m cleaning myself, it’s still gross and if I get it on my glove and can’t feel it I’m likely to spread it and make it harder to clean up.
If I were really mysophobic this would be a real nightmare.
My favorite part about going to the bathroom is the hot soapy water I can put my hands in after everything is done. It feels good.
Confessions are exactly like that whole experience. That shit is inside, hidden from everyone, we think, but there is a tell-tale aroma we detect in our consciences. Do other people detect the smell? We know it’s there, lurking. It might hurt us, or add to our stress level. If we confess what we know we did that was wrong, what will the impact be? The anxiety. We worry, what if someone finds out? What if they already know? Some people have infidelity issues. Some have money issues. Some have bigger sins than these. But if you told me there wasn’t a time when you did something and your conscience bothered you because you knew in your heart it was not the right thing to do, I’d say you were lying. I did something that was wrong, I did lots of things that were wrong. You did something wrong, too, because like going to the bathroom, it’s the human experience. Maybe you lied. Maybe you stole something. Maybe you cheated. On a test, on your partner, on your taxes. Maybe you did something even bigger than that. Maybe you’re an addict- drugs? sex? (rock and roll? Just kidding, but if it’s a sin then I’m a sinner, and if there is an addiction to rock and roll, I confess, I’m an addict.) Maybe you destroyed someone’s property? Maybe you killed someone, either accidentally or on purpose.
Some sins are so popular people want you to do them because “everyone else does it.” But if you do it then you immediately know that you did something wrong. And then you’re just as bad as everyone else. Think of the peer pressure you felt before you did it and remember the guilt you felt afterward. Everyone in that car was passing around the joint. Everyone in the locker room was sharing their jokes, or their stories about the girl or boy they were with. Everyone at the party was underage and they were all drinking. Everyone at work was swearing up a blue streak(, including blasphemous profanity, breaking the commandment of Exodus 20:7 or Deuteronomy 5:11, not to mention Deuteronomy 6:5 or Luke 10:27, not just the normal swears, if I may draw a distinction. It’s just to assuage my conscience, mum.).
After you remember the guilt, maybe think about the consequences: an illegitimate child- are you paying child support, did you allow adoption, or just get an abortion? an accident- did you pay for repairs, or just go to jail? an offended person who was upset by your language or your actions- did you apologize directly to the person or never talk to them? and so on.
Some sins are so subtle you don’t think they’re sinful, like pride. We teach self-esteem here in the United States to a point where people are proud of themselves just for existing, as if they had anything to do with their own existence. Participation trophies are given to the losing team because they participated, another award just for being there. This breeds an illegitimate sense of entitlement. I deserve ________ because I exist, not because I worked hard and earned it. Respect. Food. Status clothing. Clothing. In America, we don’t see homelessness and poverty because they only show us the clean homeless shelters, not the dirty campsites or frostbitten fingers. Our kids are clueless about how hard it can be to scrape up food and shelter when you have nothing. We joke about it. Look up an old Saturday Night Live character, Matt Foley. You may laugh, but you’ll get the point. But it becomes obvious that in spite of our self esteem, our pride in ourselves and our existence, that we are not God and we can’t just absolve ourselves of our sin, we have to face the natural consequences.
That shit is in there, and it’s got to come out.
Now think about that confession. It might require effort. Fully half of the steps of the traditional 12-Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous recommend searching out your sins, confessing them, and making amends for them. It might cramp your style. It might cause you inner anguish and turmoil. Your hands get dirty in the process, not saying that they weren’t already soiled by the past actions. The confession is the critical part of the cleaning process.
The thing about confession is, it’s a lot harder than just going to the bathroom and then washing your hands. It’s the whole psychodrama- how will it turn out? What about forgiveness? When you’re done and you can wash your hands of it, it just feels so relieving. The hot water of having faced the truth and come out on the other side. The soap of forgiveness, whether we’ve just asked for it or whether it was offered and accepted. And the drying towel of making amends, so much as is possible, making what was wrong, right again.
I washed my hands earlier, and I suspect they’re still clean. But maybe not. There’s always something right there, ready to go, at the corner of the transverse colon, isn’t there? So maybe it’s a compulsion or maybe it’s not, but I’m going to go wash my hands, again, right now. Just because it feels good. And maybe later, I’ll make another full confession.