When I was a young girl, I attended Saturday morning CCD classes, all of which were punctuated by mass, and some of which were punctuated by confession. And in that musty, confined space, a sweaty me usually confessed the same laundry list of sins (fighting with my brother and sister, talking back to Mom & Dad, lying about something, putting a recyclable in the general refuse bin, murdering a homeless man and burying his body in the crawl space ...). And was assessed the same penance, nearly every time. One "Our Father," and a "Hail Mary" or two, depending on how honest / bored I was feeling before the moment of semi-truth.
It occurred to me the other day that if I were to attend confession NOW, nearly twenty years since my last one, my penance would probably be to say the rosary over and over again while running the Chicago marathon barefoot, with a sack of ceramic garden gnomes on my back.
But the more you read the paper or simply mingle with the general public, the more you realize your own sins are probably pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Of course, it helps to live across the street from The Jerry Springer Show, but not everyone has that luxury. I truly feel blessed. Every day I can look out the window and say, "Thank GOD I'm not keeping up with the Joneses."
Also, from the weekend: "Thank goodness I've never been called a Butter Face, especially now that I know what it means!"
And: "Thank heavens my doctor has never pulled a jalapeno seed from my urethra!"
(Oh, there's a long story behind that one, and it's going in a book one day, for sure.)
So, there really is a lot to be thankful for. Including the fact that you can grow up and never go to confession again, if you don't want to.