I once dated a Catholic girl in high school, but I think the only real experiences I had with the Catholic church involved a youth group meeting and an Ash Wednesday service. Oh, and I gave up potato chips for Lent one time – which is actually much more difficult than it sounds.
The point is, I know next to nothing about the Catholic faith. I have some vague notions of Hail Marys and sacraments and sainthood, but none of it really jibes with what I believe the Bible says about Christianity. I also don’t believe it’s necessary to be absolved of your sins by a priest, since the Bible describes Jesus as our high priest. None of this means I dislike Catholics or think they’re going to hell; I just don’t agree with all of their practices.
The one aspect of Catholicism that has always intrigued me, however, is the confessional. The Bible does state that we are to confess our sins “one to another,” but sometimes it’s difficult to be sure whether what you say to just any other person will stay between the two of you. Plus, you usually have to look them in the eye. There’s something strangely appealing to me about going into a small room, face obscured by a divider, and being able to bare your soul to a human being who is bound by his position not to tell anyone else what you just said.
On second thought, it’s not that strange at all. It’s freedom.
Some things are just very difficult to say out in the open. They’re either too shocking or too embarrassing or too troubling. The fact remains, though, that they are there, somewhere inside us. Our responses to these issues often become muddled. We either present them with halfheartedness to others because we don’t want to look bad or we just stuff them down deeper and deeper inside our souls. In either instance, they don’t fully come out, and we’re usually not strong enough to carry them forever.
So the priest exists for the Catholic, and I suppose the counselor or psychiatrist exists for many others. What happens, though, when there are no listening ears you’re necessarily comfortable with? Someone once suggested to me that I begin keeping a journal of my thoughts. This type of journal would work more as a diary – no one would see it but me. I’ve tried for a while to pass this blog off as my “journal” … but it’s just not enough anymore.
I need a confessional.
I suppose as long as I don’t go out and purchase a Hello Kitty diary with a padlock I’ll be able to treat this as an adult endeavor. Fact is, I’ve always viewed journals as sort of a juvenile thing, even though some of the greatest historical writing on record has come from the journals of astounding men. The purpose of my doing this isn’t to hide all my dirty little secrets, but rather to try to understand where certain thoughts come from and have a record to look back on.
Oh, and it’s also to hide things. Sort of.