Thursday, March 14, 2013

A confession about Confession

I'm afraid of it.

Not of speaking to the priest, exactly, but the entire process.

I've only ever been once, my first confession and that, boys and girls, was just over four years ago. And it left me less than impressed, which I know is not the point of confession, to impress anyway. But still.

Since it felt less like forgiveness and more like just chatting about things that annoyed me, I felt like it wasn't really necessary. That I wasn't doing anything wrong by not going to Confession but continuing to receive Communion. And not that it's an excuse, but there wereare a lot of my Catholic friends in real life who backed me up on this. Who never go to Confession and rarely go to Mass and see no problem with any of this.

And then I burnt myself out.

I think we all (Susanne) recall that I was a little...enthusiastic? Yeah. Let's go with overly enthusiastic in my quest to be the Perfect Catholic, Convert Edition (tm).

I burnt out. And I got frustrated, because I didn't understand Everything (which is a life issue with me, let's be honest) and I've never gotten the religious experiences that so many people seem to get. Even my sponsor has had such experiences, witnessed things that she believes are miracles. And I desperately wanted one (just one!, come on, don't I deserve just one...) and I couldn't accept the fact that (again, being honest), even if I *did* have one, I wouldn't trust it because that's just not the way I'm wired. I should have picked St. Thomas the Apostle for my patron saint, okay?

So I started looking elsewhere, and I stopped attending Mass. And then I stopped being sure about a lot of things.

*handwaves* Rest of the long-ish story short, I wandered and then I wandered back around.

I've been attending Mass, but not receiving because I've come to realise that I do need to do a proper Confession before I receive. But, due to my Extreme Social Awkward, I'm afraid of it.

Not, as I said, the speaking to the priest, because I think I can do that well enough. But the whole ritual of it. The technical bits. I've never been to Confession at my parish. I don't know which side is the face to face side and which is the screen side (I want that screen. The first Confession was face to face and I didn't like that. I don't want to look at the priest while I tell him all the sins I can remember.) I know what time my parish holds Confessions (Saturdays at 2 pm), but I don't know how long the lines are, how early I should get there, etc. And then, hey, four years without Confession. Kind of embarrassing (to me) to say to a priest.

I think about it and I think, 'This is the weekend that I go!' and then it's suddenly 1:30 on Saturday and I'm sweaty from working in the yard and there's no way for me to get cleaned up and be there on time and so I just shrug and go back to doing what I do.

I know that I'm sabotaging myself because I'm feeling awkward about the whole thing.


  1. Awww, hugs! I think you are too hard on yourself trying to make everything perfect - do everything right, expect some awesome feeling or experience. Just be open and honest with God. I don't think He expects any of us to do things perfectly. I've always heard we come just as we are. HE is the one who cleans us up and purifies us anyway. If it were up to me (and my non-Catholic self), you could talk directly to God as you pull weeds in your garden. Have a real heart-to-heart with Him there. :)

    You'll do fine if you go...

    1. The anxiety isn't that God expects me to know what I'm doing (I'm fairly certain at this point He's realized I'm winging it all the time) but that I am uncomfortable in social situations where I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

      You guys have no idea how much I read and research about different situations before I actually manage to go and do them. Clearly, I am no a spontaneous person.

      If it were up to me (and my non-Catholic self), you could talk directly to God as you pull weeds in your garden. Have a real heart-to-heart with Him there. :)

      I can, and do, do that. That's different from Confession and Reconciliation.

    2. Oh me either! I can relate, and I'm sorry I didn't understand that THAT was your anxiety. I hope you can find a friend to walk you through it so you'll know. Dont' they have mentors for that?

    3. Dont' they have mentors for that?

      I don't think so...I've never heard of them at least.

    4. They should. There are probably a number of people who avoid situations such as you described because they don't know what to do. You aren't the only one in this world who feel socially awkward about situations. That's why half the country is on some medication to make them get over their anxiety. I don't say that lightly because I know plenty of loved ones in this category!

  2. First of all, I'd like to second Susanne's comment.
    I'd also like to suggest praying, whether you do your confessions by personal prayer or pray about going to Confession, I think it will help you develop that relationship with God that you seem to be searching for.

    1. Excellent advice, and I am working on that. But...Extreme Social Awkward is extreme. I'll get there eventually though. I just need to have more patience with myself. :)

  3. Third Susanne's comment. And 4 years is not bad. I probably haven't been in.....14? Not since I was Confirmed against my will. You're still learning and they understand that. I do not believe confession is necessary but if it feels necessary for you then maybe you can talk to someone about how to get over your fear? Do you have a Catholic friend that could be helpful?

    1. Yes, but you're a cradle Catholic. You didn't make the choice as an adult. I feel more guilty about it because I chose to convert and then said 'Screw it!' *tosses confetti*

      My Catholic friends are less than helpful in this area.

    2. Understandable. Yeah I'm in the "Catholic only by association" boat. I don't fit any of the requirements to call myself Christian, let alone Catholic anymore. When we did our first Reconciliation we didn't really understand it. I still don't. I'm not sure why I have to tell my sins to a priest for them to be forgiven. If God wants to forgive me, He will. I never understood the process, I guess. I would hope they explain it better to converting adults.

  4. Could you do practice confession with someone? We did that when I was a kid before we actually did confession for the first time.


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