Friday, May 21, 2010

My life confession

Yesterday I had my life confession. It lasted for two hours. It didn't seem that long, but yeah. Two hours. I don't know if that's extra long, or normal or what... anyway. I stood there in front of the iconostasis with a thing on my head, what is that thing... kind of a long scarf thing. It was a lot more like being inside something private than I thought it would be. So I had a sheaf of papers, about 16 pages, filled with junk from my life that I was going to confess.

Before I arrived at the church, I went down to the Copy Pro to print it. I wasn't looking forward to that. I'd tried to print it here at home, but the printer is completely out of ink. So, I saved it all on a flash drive and drove down to have it printed. When I got there, I plugged my flash drive into the computer, loaded it up, and hit 'print'. I looked around to see if it was printing anywhere near me, and I heard a printer warming up behind the counter. Shoot... I was hoping it would be where I could get to it quickly. So, I looked behind the counter and saw a printer spewing out page after page. After it stopped, the proprietor gathered them up and approached the counter, where he started thumbing through it. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I grabbed for it and tried to pull it away from him. He held on. I pulled harder. He held on harder. I said, "That's private." He said, "Do you know how many pages there are?" Abashed, I released my grip on the sheaf of papers and he continued to thumb through the most private and shameful parts of my life, counting pages. He finally got them all counted and mumbled, "Sheesh, I don't even have my glasses on..." and charged me a dollar ninety. I handed him a five, he gave me change, and I hurried out of there. It was exactly as bad as the worst thing I'd imagined happening.

So then I drove to the church. Of course I was pretty much scared shitless when I arrived there. I walked into the... sanctuary? Narthex? Alter? Whatever the church part is called where the congregation stands. I still don't know exactly what to call it. The church. That's where I was. Anyway, I went in there and Fr. Justin was there, and he said "Hi Ash" and I said "Hi Father" and he left through the library nook door. So, I just had a seat there. I waited for about five minutes (I had arrived at 3:30 on the dot, that's when I was scheduled) and then I started to get fidgety. I got up to see if Fr. Justin was waiting for me in the coffee room. Nope... I went back into the... church. And sat down again. I waited for another five minutes and was about to get up and go have a smoke when Fr. Justin appeared. He asked me if I needed a little time, and I said "No thanks, I'm ready." I guess that's what the 10 minutes was for... that was very considerate.

So, back to the confession. I venerated the icon and cross and Fr. Justin said some prayers, the Trisagion being one of them, and I was surprised to find myself saying it along with him. I don't have it memorized, but with someone saying it, it all comes to me. So then Fr. Justin put the... anyway, there I was standing there as I described before. I dove into my confession.

I was ok all through it until I got to the parts where I've hurt Leah, and I choked up and had to stop. The list was so long. I didn't remember writing all of that... I continued to read, time after time, again and again, how I had hurt her, and it was like having it handed to me by somebody else, telling me "You did all of this to her. You did it. You. You're guilty." And I had to stop again. It was powerful emotional. I finally got through it and continued on.

At the end, after two hours, I was tired. Fr. Justin was tired. I stretched, popped some joints, bent over, popped my back, stretched... wow, did that just happen? Then Fr. Justin and I went outside and I burned all 16 pages in this soot stained pot. I stood there, feeding page after page into that pot, watching them burn. I guess I should have felt some kind of relief after all of that, but in truth, I only felt really tired. Dead tired, grievously tired. Drained and empty. I went home and cooked some eggs, drank a beer, and fell asleep on the couch.


  1. Congratulations man. It sounds like it was an ordeal, but it's definitely worth it.

    I'm pretty sure though, when St. James said "Confess your sins to one another" he wasn't thinking of the guy at the Print Shop... ;-)

  2. I felt the same after my life confession before I was Chrismated into the Orthodox Church. Drained, ashamed, dead. Nevertheless, in hindsight it was very therapeutic to finally confront many of the darker things within myself and my past... to address them and confess them openly. Good luck with your baptism tomorrow, and stay strong. Spiritual rebirth will pave the path to recovery from recent injuries.

  3. Thanks, that's what I've been hearing... but I've also been hearing that I have to be patient because it might be a long wait until the recovery starts, or finishes, however you look at it.