Day 15: Yesterday
The older I get, the more yesterdays that are behind me. My mind is full of so many yesterdays. Some of them make me smile. Some are sad. Some cause guilt and shame to rise up. The strongest memories of yesterday all have deep emotion attached to them. It is part of the reason they stick. Some of the memories are too intense to relive. PTSD is the new name we have assigned to these types of memories.
I suspect we all have a few intense memories lodged deep inside from years ago or maybe just from 2020. It’s the reason most of us have areas of excess in our lives. We’re extra! Excess eating, sleeping, spending, giving, doing, collecting. That last one is also called hoarding. We find ourselves overreacting today because of yesterday.
In the book, The Body Keeps the Score, we are introduced to the idea that trauma of all sizes leaves us scarred. But we are also told there are ways to heal. Ironically, many of the methods are ancient spiritual disciplines we have neglected. Silence and solitude, acts of service, journaling, collective singing, walking in nature, and confession and forgiveness. For many of us, forgiveness would be a good place to begin. It would help release the emotional grip on yesterday’s rented space in our heads.
Can we discuss confession and forgiveness here? Forgiveness can be done alone in our room. However, it derives its strength when partnered with confession. It is even more powerful when we confess to one another. Often we think confession is only about admitting when we do something wrong. But confession is admitting that something is out of sync in our lives.
We could be confessing sin we committed, but it could be sin committed against us. We can confess our feelings of hurt, betrayal, sadness, or even hope. When was the last time you confessed? I have a friend that tells me often “I’m fine”. I know it is a lie. My friend doesn’t need to confess to me, but I sure wish they would confess to someone.
This habit we’ve perfected, the one of not confessing, it is destroying us. Deep inside it is poisoning our soul and even our bodies. I have stopped counting the number of times I have told people they are headed for a heart attack or divorce court. And all the while confession and forgiveness sit on a shelf like antibiotics we forgot to finish. We failed to read the warning label instructing us to finish all medication and we wonder why we are still sick.
This week I spent time confessing to a friend. Then I felt all of this darkness bubble up from inside. It was terrifying and I thought I might choke on it all. And then it was gone. My spirit was lighter and my body felt stronger.
The saints who have gone before us understood the secrets of forgiveness and confession. They knew the power of the written and spoken word. During Lent, I am leaning hard into forgiveness and confession. It almost compels me to set up a lemonade stand and peddle the products of forgiveness and confession like magic elixirs. They may not be a cure-all, but they sure are a good place to start.