I had one goal for Advent (other than praying for my prayer buddy), and that was to make it to confession. I think confession is amazing, but I've been so bad about going since I've been out here. I have gotten used to some really good confessors, and I haven't found that yet. Though, I need to be honest and admit I haven't tried very hard.
Unfortunately, I didn't work too hard at actually going to confession.
Finally, on the last day that I had available before I left to see my family, I took myself down to confession. Only to find that no one was available. As in, the lights are off and nobody's home, though the sign clearly indicates that the confession times should be right at the moment that I was there. I was disappointed, but what are you going to do?
Therefore, I went on my way and headed home a few days later. My mom said that their priest hasn't been able to be as consistent about confession before Mass recently, and he was never that consistent on the big holidays (understandably, since there's so much going on with those). So I gave up my intention to go before Christmas and decided to go on my first available time when I returned to my normal routine.
Only, we ended up going to "Midnight" Mass (one of those 10 o'clock deals, but don't get me started on that.) We had to be there early so my little brother could serve, and wouldn't you know it? The priest was in the confessional!
I was a little unprepared, but I jumped in anyway, because I didn't want to miss. I hope I remembered most of what I needed to say. The thing about this priest is, I never know what he's going to say, but it's usually worth listening to. The first thing that he tells me? That I need to open my heart to receive love.
If you had heard my confession, you might have said (and I certainly would have said) that I needed to open my heart to give love and stop being so hard on everything and everyone around me. But, no, he said that I needed to pray that God would open my heart to receive His love and let it push out the anger and bitterness and frustration.
Well, that was unexpected. And though it was the opposite of what I thought I needed to hear, I knew somewhere- before I even had time to process the words- that it was exactly what I needed to hear. It occurred to me that if I wasn't open to receive His love, then what love would I have to give others? And if I was not willing to receive the love of the people that He placed in my life, the same thing. What store will I draw from to give love to others?
I think, being single, that sometimes it's easy to misinterpret things a little bit. Sometimes it's easy to feel unlovable. Because (however unconsciously) I sometimes see myself that way, it's easy to dismiss the love that is there in the people around me. I mean, I know people love me, and I love them, but I think I don't always allow myself to give that the weight it deserves. If that makes any sense.
Anyway, as disappointed as I was to miss confession when I thought I was going to go, I'm really glad it was a bust then, so I could go to confession when I really needed to go.
Love and healing from confession, and the One they really come from is the One who became flesh to dwell among us at Christmas.