In preparation for Christmas, and as a practising and believing catholic, I attended confession.
It is a space in which I can bring the issues which have bothered my conscience before a listening priest.
A word people don’t like to use anymore is “sin” – to acknowledge that our actions or words or absence have hurt ourselves or someone else.
This sacrament, is for me, a place in which I can try to draw a line under the past or acknowledge failings which perhaps are ongoing, but which are somehow lightened by a sense that I have been forgiven and that it is ok to fail and to try again.
At my last confession, I told my own priest that I was gay.
This felt right. I was not sorry for being gay (I am not sorry for being gay!), but I was sorry for the impact my recent actions have had on my wife, and I am resolved in that moment and beyond to bring these activities to an end.
I was surprised when my priest asked me to stand up, and as I did so he gave me a hug and said to me “know that you are loved”
It was the most perfect of actions because it summed up for me the reason why I hurt myself and others.
I am at my most destructive when I do not feel loved.
In the intervening weeks, my resolve has strengthened to maintain my marriage, and my wife and I have been making significant efforts to make each other feel loved.
When I feel loved, I feel safe.
When I feel safe, I feel calm.
When I feel calm, I don’t feel the inner pain so intensely.
When I feel less pain, I am less destructive.
When I am less destructive, it is because I know that I am loved.
My next blog will be: Remain vs Leave