Thursday, March 17, 2011

sin revisited

What I started to talk about a couple of days ago was sin, always a favorite topic.  Apologies in advance that I will not be describing any lascivious sins in detail, which would make this post much more interesting, but even though I'm way less neurotically private than I used to be, I'm not that open. Yet.  Stay tuned, it could happen.

So, anyway, I'm sitting there in the Ash Wednesday service, which is specifically about repentance--among other things, but that is a major theme.  And I couldn't do it.  Not that I have no faults anymore.  But I couldn't separate out specific actions or attitudes anymore.  I used to be able to do this.  In that old post about sin, I talked about how even though I'm not sure I believe in God anymore, I use the time of silent confession at church as a sort of internal housekeeping-- a time to reflect on actions and attitudes of mine the previous week that I regretted or wasn't happy with.  I would acknowledge them, release any guilt or shame I felt about them, and resolve to do better in the future.

But this time, I was sitting there waiting for stuff to come to mind that needed to be confessed, and I realized that I can't split off specific actions (or attitudes) from who I am anymore.  It's all one piece, if that makes any sense.  If anything, I'm way more aware of my faults now than I used to be.  (And even the word "faults" still sounds like something that's separate from the "real" me, which isn't what I mean, but I can't figure out how else to word it.)  I think in a way being able to enumerate "sins" in the way I used to do it was almost a way of absolving myself of responsibility for them-- like they were actions I had done that were unrelated to who I "really" am, like I had just made a mistake or been caught off-guard or was tired or whatever.

I find that I can't do that anymore.  Yup, I'm overly-analytical and drive my poor spouse to distraction.  Yes, I get absorbed in what I'm thinking about to the point of neglecting my kid.  Yes, I get overwhelmed in social situations and just leave, prompting the poor, nice people around me to wonder what they said to drive me away (I just did that this week, as a matter of fact).  But those are all parts of who I am.  I can't separate them out and "let them go."

that may sound like I'm letting myself off the hook for those kinds of actions, but in fact, it's the opposite.  This way makes me feel more responsible, more aware of what I'm doing that hurts others.  I want to say, more aware of the need to change, but I'm not sure that's the right response.  This is brand new, I'm still figuring this out.  It's entirely possible that this post doesn't make a lick of sense, but I tried.


  1. Barb, that meditation on sin makes a lot of sense. I will be pondering it. I am much like you.

  2. It is a completely different way of looking at this isn't it? I really get so much out of the posts you do when you are examining things in different directions like this.
    Nice. Thank you.

  3. it always astounds me when other people get something out of posts like this. The whole time I was typing I thought, no one else is interested in my meanderings on this stuff. why am I typing this? :-) so it is nice to know it made some sense, at least. thanks for commenting!