Contrition: Holding Myself Accountable

August 1, 2013

A very traditional part of being a devout Catholic is confession.  Some people hate the act but I find it cleansing.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation always begins with, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”  My Baptist friends have occasionally chastised me over it, but it was another way I held myself accountable for my actions.  I enjoyed chatting with the Priest and try to do my penance.  You never want to do anything that your too ashamed to tell the Priest.  

Today one of my dearest friends became my Priest.  I was watching the news  and I had the worst thought cross my mind.   I didn’t contemplate hurting anyone or anything similar.  It is tough to openly admit that I had such a terrible thought.  I saw coverage of a fatal car crash, and I checked to see if it was someone I knew.  I thought to myself, “If it was them, I wouldn’t shed a tear.”  Seconds later I was mortified.  How could I have let that cross my mind?  I immediately dropped what I was doing, and I messaged my friend to “confess”.  I can’t begin to describe how deeply it bothered me.  I know everyone occasionally has ill thoughts toward another but this was very atypical of me.  My biggest fear is that I will become bitter and not better.  I have devoted the last few years of my life to helping others. When Brandon was murdered I was heartbroken but I handled my grief differently.  I desperately wanted to improve the lives of others, my mission was to help and not hurt.  

I messaged her for two reasons, I wanted to be held accountable for my thoughts and to try to understand them.  I don’t want to become “that person”.  You know the person who is so angry at the cards they have been dealt or the people they have encountered, that they forget how to be happy.  She tried her best to reassure me that I wasn’t that person, but for a split second I saw a glimpse of myself that I did not like.  In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black yells, “You know the man you truly are, Remus! This heart is where you truly live!” when Professor Lupin is turning into a werewolf.  Lately, I feel like I need a Sirius Black to remind me where my heart belongs.  There is an old Cherokee proverb that I try to live by and you can read it on the left.  Everyone is capable of both good and bad.  We should remember to feed the good by thinking before we speak, surrounding yourself with kind people, and never let hate or ill thoughts consume you.    

I am not perfect.  I am only human.  I will never be flawless.  I am however, accountable for my own words, thoughts, and actions.  I know I haven’t made some of the best choices when handling personal matters the last few weeks.  My personal relationships seem to spill over to one another, and occasionally the wrong party receives the backlash that was meant for someone else.  I just need to remind myself to stay on course.  How do you hold yourself accountable for your own actions?  What do you do to feed your “good” wolf?  

Happy Thoughtful Thursday

4 comments on “Contrition: Holding Myself Accountable”

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