Category Archives: Confession

didI

Did I Do The Right Thing?

I wanted to call this “Guilt, Shame, Duty, and Responsibility” but I was thinking about a personal conundrum and not the entire spectrum of the guilt and responsibility of the human race! Although I wonder if we don’t look at such questions in the broad terms rather than the specific circumstances of life? Usually, looking at the broad terms tends to tempt us to dismiss our own responsibilities. I know I follow that route, at times.

I felt like writing about the specific story of events that I struggle with, but in retrospect could foresee how quickly we would all jump to our own conclusions and presumptions. I didn’t want people telling me to not feel guilty or offer their comforting words. I appreciate the kindness of people, but this was something I wanted to consider in its larger setting. I couldn’t figure out how to escape that call for comfort, so let’s see how we do in the thinking process by just looking at the common question.

I have so many of these times of asking this of myself, and I know not all of us do… many begin, but the painfulness of looking at the possibility of a “no” answer and all the guilt that would let loose is simply too much. Thus a quick exit into “safe” canopies of constructed answers that serve to displace the question. But I want to really consider the right and the wrong of a specific scale of whether I loved someone enough, whether I did the right thing towards them in that aspect. Whether I did what was in my power to help them, reach out to them, support them “enough” .

Already, there is a consideration of where we obtain our resources to love. In our own experiences we have a varied measure. Some of us are strong, well loved, sound in our foundations of life. Some of us not so much. But if I would look at this from the perspective of what I could expect to draw upon as a Christian, does this apply anymore? Or do I enter a different set of variables altogether?

I think I do. My questions of guiltiness are different. My expectations of resourcefulness and power are different. Whether I can hope to do differently has whole new import of meaning based upon this foundation: Christian. All very different from the basis of what I might think or expect based upon my own ability and inner resources.

In a specific circumstance or two that I am privately considering I see how far short I had fallen. I see no good in self flagellation, and much harm in wallowing in personal guilt. But the facts remain that if I do not see what caused me to love less than I could have, or should have … how will I desire to love more?

I heard a sermon recently which answered this from a different perspective. Basically it was the idea that I expose myself to the full rays of God’s love for me, to deeply understand that, and then I will have such a fullness of resource, being filled with the Love of God for me, that it will spill over and be enough for giving to others needs. I will love because I was first loved, just as in the Bible verse.

This makes sense, and it correlates somewhat with what we know naturally. It is the loved, stable, secure personality that has the most resource to love others properly and in a healthy way. The difference of course being that God makes up the the lack that we might have had when we come to the table.

I do know that much of what constrained me from loving properly in the past situations had much to do with self-preserving fears. We think that we won’t survive other’s demands on us and withdraw. That their requirements for our love and help will drain and destroy us.

I can’t change the past events of what I did or did not do rightly. I can seek to place myself in the outpouring flow of love of others, and try to be more receptive to it. I can seek to become closer to God, the source of all love, and open my heart for what that can accomplish, in me and through me.

Then, I hope my future answer to the question, “Did I do the right thing?” may have a more affirmative answer. Because to love the way Christ loves is always the the right thing.

Alvin Lustig christmas card

Another True Confession Time

Here I am, waiting on God. I do that quite a bit. Once, I found it a virtuous thing; at the moment I find it the only alternative.

What I really want to do, it seems, is give up. Just give up. I am tired of trying to fight the good fight and even when, or maybe especially when, I seem to make progress in seeing light…especially light for and within my family…. all the light seems to go out.

Writing it down opens me up for the outside to world to say all the things I say to myself. Maybe it is me, maybe it is a case of there actually being impossible circumstances, along with all the usual spoken encouragements and the unspoken accusations. And sometimes I hate that aspect of myself that I seem so proud of at other times: I can’t seem to give up. I want to throw the towel in, but there is some sort of stubborn risk taking or cramp in my hand, I don’t know; just can’t let it go.

I am a Christian, and the obvious correlation to that statement is that I’m supposed to have the joy of knowing I’m going to heaven, or more accurately the joy of salvation. Although there are even times when I wonder about that. Not really, but the temptation to doubt it is there. Depends on where I look. If I look at God’s faithfulness, I can dismiss the discouraged thought, but looking at me and what those around me message me so efficiently forms real moments of doubt.

Sometimes I get depressed, like now, and sometimes that takes me to the brink of hell. But as soon as I feel the lick of the flames on my face, it has the inexplicable effect of galvanizing me. It is like, “into the flames I go….” to rush to the enemy and my fate. Whatever that fate may be.

But sometimes just to languish, turning inward to the torment for awhile, until it passes.
Like some methane brimstone stink of mistakes and regret.


I hate when I do this before Christmas.
You probably do, too.

Returning to True Confessional

I used to use my personal blog for a lot of true confessions back in the day. The day when I was one of the few to have a “blog”, not many I met even knew what blogging was. I was also anonymous. Although always using my real first name, I doubt that anyone who knew me read anything I wrote… and I liked that. I ‘ve never allowed certain information to be published when I thought it might hurt someone to have it public… but I had quite a bit of my own heart exposed at times.

Little of that is in my writing now. I’ve intersected the public and the personal and that can make for a real risk when you speak of things that might change, but if written are given a certain permanency. In real life I am extremely edited. Probably no one who knows me thinks so, but it is true from my interior perspective. Part of that “over responsible” trait that I’ve been trying to be free of in the past five years or so… ever since beginning to see it and understand how unhealthy it is.

Well, I’m going to try to move across that trapeze wire of being publicly private.
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