in every Roman Catholic cathedral and church that we have visited in our stay in Italy, there are wooden structures along the side walls of the nave which are confessionals.
confessionals are small structures that allow the priest to sit on one side and the parishioner to sit on the other, with a space in between. it is constructed in such a way that the two of them cannot see each other, but can hear each other.
the purpose of the confessional is to allow the parishioner to confess his or her sins to God and receive some guidance from the priest. his guidance can take the form of absolution. or it can be very directive.
during our trip through Italy, PJ, Tom and I have begun to confess some of our sins openly to each other.
I am not sure why we have started to do this. maybe it is the influence of seeing the confessionals at every church we visit. maybe it is because we are allowing ourselves to become more laid back and reflective as the trip continues. maybe it is because that we are beginning to trust each other more as the trip ensues. maybe it is because we are trying to cleanse ourselves of things that we are not proud of, and ideally would like to have forgiven. or, maybe it is for some or all of these reasons.
the confessions are coming each new day.
for example, I confessed that some 30 years ago I had not responded to a letter that was hand written to me by a “friend” who had been convicted of a crime and sent for years to a federal prison in Lompoc California. he sent it to me from prison, and I never responded. He has since passed away, but I feel terrible that I did not take the time to take his letter in, absorb it, and thoughtfully respond. one human being to another. and especially from one human being who was not in a very good place in his life, one who could use some contact and personal touch. I am embarrassed and mad at and disappointed in myself for my actions, or, more accurately, lack of action.
such is a confession.
as upset with myself as I am, I am a believer that confessing is a healthy thing to do.
I am sure that I, PJ and Tom will have several more confessions before our trip is over.