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Guilt

I make daisy chains. To make a daisy chain you have to own at least one decent finger nail. My friend, Monica, doesn't have any nails because she chews on them constantly.

    - How many sins do you have, she asks, as she watches me pick the daisies.

    - Well, I have to have at least four, otherwise, they're no good to anyone.

The stem of a daisy is the colour of an opened up  lime and it is delicate the way I imagine a vein to be, so you have to be careful to  find the right spot so that you can splice it.  The thickest place is the best.

Monica keeps on talking even though I don't want her to.

     - What's your first sin, she asks

     - I thought bad thoughts, I say far too quickly

She laughs at that and points one of her raw scraggly fingers at me like a judge in a courtoom.

When you have made the proper opening in the stems you can begin to loop all the daisies together. Once you have about four daisies connected the chain starts to look like something.

     - Go on, Monica says, that's only one sin

     - I called my brother stupid. I said a bad word. I killed a spider.

Monica watches my creation unfold. I know she wants me to ask what her sins  are but I don't want to know. When the chain is complete I slip it over my head and it  settles softly on my skin.

The confession box is like the cupboard underneath the stairs at home. The cupboard where we put the coal scuttle and the old muddy boots and tins of polish. The ironing board and cans of paint gone stiff from lack of use.  My sins spin around in my mouth like Gob Stoppers that I don't want to swallow. The latch slides open and a silhouette waits.

     - Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been one week since my last confession.

Outside the church I scoop up the air with my clean mouth. My step is curiously light as I realise that it will be one long week until I have to search for my sins once more. When I get home my mother asks me what I got;

    - Four Hail Marys and One Our Father, I say as I snatch the chain from my neck and toss it into the bin.

    

Comments
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Childhood... Mary, I think I

Childhood...
Mary, I think I might have gone through confession twice or three times, and that was it to me. I didn´t like the priests and they didn´t like me either. I always had the wrong answers to their questions.
I remember this time in catechism classes that Brother Alberto was trying to explain confession to us: If I arrive at your home, all dirty and ragged, will you receive me?
I said, thinking of charity and fraternity, yes!
He turned to me, furious, and said: NO!!! If you arrive dirty and ragged at God´s home He won´t receive you!
I was 8 or 9 years old. I kept quiet and teary the rest of the lesson. When I got home I told my father. He smiled to me and said I didn´t need to go to catechism if I didn´t want to. I said I wanted to take that to the end. I went back, finished the lessons, took communion, and went on with real life.

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Your father was a very wise

Your father was a very wise man Lu. I grew up feeling I had to always be guilty of something! It took me years to shed the layers.........

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I remember my first

I remember my first confession vividly. For weeks, I had walked around sure that I was damned to the fires of hell forever, because I knew there was no way I could remember every bad thing I'd ever done or said or thought, and so would not be getting sufficient absolution. I was terrified and couldn't utter a word when I got in the box; the priest had to start it off for me. He was so lovely, though, figuring out my problem and reassuring me that God loved me and understood that I couldn't remember everything.
KidOne approached hers equally nervous, but I think that was just because she was so shy. She made a beeline for the confessional that held the priest she knew best and my formerly-seven-year-old self trembled for her. It felt like just a moment later when she sat back down beside me, grinning from ear to ear, and telling me, "I didn't eat my sandwiches last year [at school] and now it's alright!"

Mrs. Boyle sent me home from catechism once for something her daughter had done. It's no wonder I no longer consider myself Catholic.
And I've always wondered how to make a daisy chain. Now the next time I pass a bush of daisies, I'll give one a try.
Susan

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Happy that you had a good

Happy that you had a good experience with confession Susan. For me, it was a dreaded event and one that, to this day, confuses me. How on earth can a seven year old child have sins! I cannot fathom the process and to many people it left indelible scars. Try making the daisy chain, they are pretty and organic but alas, temporary like everything in life.

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Wonder why you can't go in

Wonder why you can't go in and tell the priest what you did great all week?
And he can say,"Good for you! Keep up the good work! Make sure your parents give you at least three good hugs each this week."

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That would be too healthy,

That would be too healthy, Jodi.

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Jodi, that is the ideal

Jodi, that is the ideal scenario but somehow, somewhere the idea of sin got caught up in candles and stained glass windows and statues and incense and men wearing white as snow collars around their necks!

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Mares, I must've been twice

Mares, I must've been twice as bad as you as a child, because I always got five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys. :-)

I never knew what to say in the confessional. Most of the time I just made up sins, because other than disobeying my parents once in a while, I didn't really have any. I hope I was smart enough not to say I murdered 10 people and coveted my neighbor's wife. I didn't even know what the latter meant.

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We were simply kids Ellen

We were simply kids Ellen and I wish we could have hung out together! Imagine that!!!

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Something tells me we

Something tells me we might've been a bit of trouble together, Mares.  ;-)

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To give you an idea of how

To give you an idea of how young I was when I was instructed to start memorizing prayers. . .for a number of years, I thought the Hail Mary went, "Hell, Mary, full of grapes." Seriously. That's how I said it. At four, the only hail you know about is the kind that falls from the sky once in a while. And grace is a completely unknown concept.

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LOL!You too got it wrong! I

LOL!You too got it wrong! I used to think of a beautiful winged creature, angel-like, called Maria.

In Portuguese it begins with Ave Maria... . The problem is that ave is also the word for bird... :-D

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I like your daisy chains.

I like your daisy chains. After reading this whole blog and responses, I'm so thankful I missed out on this aspect of Catholicism. It's no wonder folks completely reject it into their adulthood. Anyhow, I *never* consider myself anything with a label, but I was raised Catholic and veered into other trails, which then made me take another look and at least admire the positive aspects from a distance; and luckily I wasn't exposed the worst of it. True, how could a 7-year old have sins or anything to feel guilty about!

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Labels are bad news. Good

Labels are bad news. Good for you Rebb, you sound like a free spirit.

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In Hinduism there is nothing

In Hinduism there is nothing like confessing sins to some one.But lord Krishna says to surrender yourself to him along with all sins, without disclosing any thing. And only by surrendering to him your sins will be wiped out.Here one is accepted even with his sin, if he finally puts all the things in hands of god.In Jainism there are 'Pratikraman' means asking forgiveness in meditation,from whom you have done wrong.It should be in daily basis for smallest sins of the day. These helps to free yourself from feeling of guilt created by that act. In my opinion guilt of sin is bigger than sin itself. Sometime what is sin for one is, normal thing for other. Confessing a sin without involving your heart and soul is also one kind of sin

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Jitu, I like that what sin

Jitu, I like that what sin is for one is normal for the other. It is a very liberating thought and ultimately true. Thanks for your input on this. All the best, Mp

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Hi Mares and all, I missed

Hi Mares and all,

I missed this blog, but I'm glad I realized it. This conversation is very interesting.

In my town in Yokohama, we didn't have a Christian Church. But when I was nine or ten, one American family came to a hill top kindergarten and opened a Sunday school. My father was asked to translate for the female priest, and she invited me to the school. So I went there every Sunday for a year. But the teacher was Japanese, and there was no confession.

So that’s all is my experience with Christianity, but I feel guilt.

Ellen,

"Hell Mary.." I thought it hilarious.

Jitu,

I also like that what sin is for one is normal for the other.