Monday, January 10, 2011

absolution

I failed. It wasn't a small error or mistake. It wasn't catastrophic. It was significant enough to have consequences that I regret.

This failure hurts. It hurts on the surface and it hurts down deep. Soul reverberating deep.

I am trying to work my way through it. I own the failure, but that isn't enough. I wonder where to turn for help and I find that the resources for coping with failure are thin and impersonal, cliched. No surprise. Failure isn't something anyone wants to acknowledge. No one wants wants to lay out before the world, or even some small, trusted portion of it, the raw vulnerability that is failure. To fail is to reveal deficiency, incompetence, inability, or some other face of that same, dark beast. No one wants that revelation.

No one talks about failure in personal terms. Unless we work or live with someone and see the up-close-and-personal reality of their being, don't we imagine that those around us excel in what they do? Don't we want others to think the same of us? Do we not want to be admired, respected, and esteemed? How, then, do I confess to you my failing?

Yesterday our bishop made his annual visit to my parish. As vestry members filed out of an energy-filled meeting we had with him to head to worship, he lingered and turned to me. He asked me how I was. Of all the people in the world to whom I want to present my best face, I confessed my failure to him.

On reflection, to confess was presenting my best face. Not my most competent face, but the full humanity of who I am at this point in time, "warts and all." Honest. Authentic. And it helped me to turn a corner.

I have continued to reflect on the incident of failing, and have come to understand something else. What was apparent and revealed on the surface hid deeper realities. I have owned and repented of my part, but there is more to this episode than my neglect, the response and the resulting action on the part of another which, in part, has wronged me.

And so I pray. I Pray for the strength to reach out to bring to light the pain on both sides, to affirm the goodness of all parties, to forgive the actions that have led to hurt, and to have redeemed what might otherwise become buried and cancerous.

Bless me, O Lord, for sins committed. Extend your mercy to hurting hearts and light the way to reconciliation.

6 comments:

Carolina Linthead said...

Reconciliation is hard work, work that requires commitment from all involved parties. I pray that your efforts toward this end are rewarded, and grace triumphs, both for your sake and for the sake of those unmentioned. Peace to you, my friend.

Mary Beth said...

I'm awed by your honesty. I thank you for putting this into words. Praying for you and with you.

The Bug said...

Another blog I read was talking about guilt vs. regret the other day. Guilt is about wallowing & regret is about reconciling. It sounds like you're approaching this with the right attitude, regret pushing you forward to move past the failure...

Terri said...

The office of confession and absolution is powerful for just this reason. As a priest I think it is always important for us to have a confessor, although admittedly hard to find someone I trust to do this well - for all the reasons you state - when I have failed or caused brokeness or done something for which I am remorseful - I want a way to reflect honestly and move toward reconciliation - or at least forgiveness...since reconciliation is a process that involves (usually) more than one person (unless one needs to become reconciled with ones-self).

Blessings for you as you journey. I'm grateful you have a Bishop withwhom you can be this honest and authentic and confessional. It is sadly not always possible....

KimQuiltz said...

Loving you, Dear Anne.

Jayne said...

Owning our part is the way to reconciliation, and it sounds as if you have done just that. Warm hugs to you my friend.

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