"I'll do my best to suffer with some grace."

Aeon Spoke - Grace

Growing up in a devout Catholic household, penance was really a simple idea when I was a kid.

You do something "bad" and you go pray to God and BOOM you are pure again.

And that is how they fuck you up when you are religious like that because they don't warn you that the idea of what is truly wrong and what you should truly be sorry for changes drastically as you get older.

By the time I was in high school I already was skeptical of the idea because there I am telling a priest that I have sinned but at the same time neglecting to bring up the fact that during the summer of 1994 I probably jerked off up to three times a day because while i am sure I would have needed to say a few more Hail Mary's the bottom line was that in my heart I didn't regret it at all.

Now I am 28 and have lost my earlier faith but still have been struggling with how I define forgiveness and penance in my life because I feel like there is soemthing important there. And what I have come up with thus far is that at this stage of life penance can be expounded upon by asking the question "what do I deserve?"

The line isn't simple anymore and I am not the first person to say this but think about all you have done. For instance I can look back on ten years of living and realize the points when I was weak. I can see the times when I have lied and betrayed the trust of friends, when I have acted out of lust, when I have knowingly hurt someone's feelings or acted out of greed and selfishness and I look at all that and wonder how I can feel I deserve to have any success of any kind in any aspect of my life if I have not yet atoned for what I have done.

I don't mean this in a religious way since God himself will tell you I haven't gone near a confessional in almost ten years I bet but I wonder how successful I have been as a human in making up for what I have done. When have I done something special for a friend or been there for them? When have I truly tried to act selflessly towards another human and how can you possibly take everything from these two sides and then stack them up side by side. How would you compare and then what do you deserve? Do you deserve to be with someone special or living in a wonderful house or apartment? Or do you deserve to be on the outskirts of humanity barely getting by until you realize that most of what you encounter every day is so unimportant.

I am not able to make these kinds of judgements for myself but it gives me something to think about on days when all the world finds me worthy of despair and I am left to take it and smile and try and remember that this isn't second grade catholicism anymore. There is no great wiping of the slate and you will continue to chalk up transgressions and moral victories in life and do you believe this will inform or predict your ultimate place in life or will you finally realize that what you deserve isn't important anymore.

"If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters… then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today."

Angel - "Epiphany" (Season 2)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home