Ah, here we are, the words between the pictures. Thank you to the few daring souls who peruse my prose amidst my scribblings.
Let's talk about forgiveness.
Joe is going to CCD for classes on reconcilliaton. This, for those of you who are heathens, is a Catholic sacrament whereby you sit in a closet and tell the priest everything you've done wrong. The priest then "absolves" you of your sins, and tells you to go say a bunch of Hail Marys. I think the priests have a sheet they read off of- talking back to your parents is one H.M., Lying is ten, staking a younger sibling naked over a red ant hill and pouring honey on his or her genitals is worth twenty, and so on. The last time I went to confession, about ten years ago, a priest gave me eighty. (No bullshit.) I'm sure they've accumulated interest by now.
As with almost everything, Joe is quite gung-ho about CCD, probably to make my parents proud of him. I was an extremly Catholic child for the same reason. I even thought of being a priest at one stage. We had one in our family- in Sicily no less- whom everyone referred to in hushed tones as "The Uncle." What job could have greater staus than that? But if I were to join up, I think I’d be a monk, and work in the fields in utter silence.
Of course, I realize I would make a lousy Man of the Cloth, because I just don’t believe a word of it anymore. This would put a crimp in things. It is a bit difficult when Joe asks questions, like, "Why do we have to go to confession for God to forgive our sins?" To which I reply that God loves you no matter what, but it makes you feel better to talk about the things you feel bad about.
"Is anger a sin?" was the next question. I told him that no emotions were sins- it's what we DO about them that counts. However, to dwell on an emotion- to re-live anger, sadness, or worries over and over again hurts us inside. (He is a little young for the concept that everything in your brain is electro-chemical, and our bodies become addicted to the chemicals triggered by strong emotions.) That's where forgiveness comes in.
A close friend of mine recently created a shitstorm for his wife, kids, friends, (including myself) & family. I was furious, and considered breaking away from him. (Sorry to be so vague, it's just that it's not my tale to tell.) But then I saw that his family was willing to help him out of the hole he had dug, even though he had hurt them so many times in the past. "Well," I thought, "if they can be so forgiving, maybe I can too." I only hope he finaly realizes that if so many people love and forgive him, then he must be worth loving. Only when he realizes he must earn his own love for himself will things get better.