Perhaps you who are reading this post will take a few moments to let these words “confession is good for the soul”, sink in before you offer any thoughts. Please, just try this? Now. reflect on the next set of words and let them sink in before you say or write anything. Please! ”If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it change your attitude about it.” Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s quote comes from our family Christmas Letter composed by my wife Fran. It is my hope we may derive some real meaning from them. I have already.
I confess I have a lot on my mind these days as you probably do. Yet, in my quiet moments of discernment and reflection, I am aware of the words of one of the old Spirituals, “It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer”. After reading the sermon of a Universalist Pastor sent to me by a dear friend who is a member of that congregation, it suddenly dawned on me that, I am the change I am seeking, I am the one who is in need of confession-not prayer, even though I believe in prayer, rather I am in greater need of confessing my need to confess. Do you know what I mean?
In the sermon the pastor says “I know I should resist that division of creation into good and evil. . .but the world is feeling a lot like that these days-Blue States and Red States, Gun advocates and the peace lovers, Progressives vs those who would take us backwards…the truth that I am finally accepting is that I have become pretty dug in.” Wow! These words struck deep into my own sense of purpose and being. These words of the pastor describes exactly what I, and perhaps you as well, have been wrestling with in these toxic and distressful times for our country. Again, Maya Angelou’s words speak to me: if you don’t like something -45 and his followers-change it. if you can’t change it change your attitude about it.
Right here, right now, I am confessing that I am seriously in need of a spiritual makeover. I confess that my cup runs over with anger towards slave masters and overseers who brutally beat my ancestors as told by Abolitionist Harriet Tubman. I confess my hatred towards 45 and his administration whose attitudes and actions towards people of faith and peoples of color make me tremble, tremble, tremble. I ask myself, how can I change my attitude about all that I am feeling? Well, I begin with truth-telling as I have just done. I have no answers other than what Maya Angelou and the Unitarian pastor. To make the necessary changes required of me, I must “unharden”my heart towards those people I have just listed. I have to empty myself of the continuous dialogue going on inside of But, I thank God for the gift of memory which my head keeps telling me how wrong 45 is and how right I am. I am awaiting a hange to come over me, so I can see with a new vision and I can have a new attitude towards those things which up to now has imprisoned me.
But, I will however, continue to resist the evilness of evil that I see in the country and in the world. I will continue to make my voice heard as I speak truth to power as I know and believe it to be. I confess my inability at times, to keep hope alive and embrace Scripture which calls me to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God”. But, I thank God over and over again for the gift of memory that allows me to visit and to revisit those moments of clarity. And I thank God, over and over again when I can remember those precious moments when life has been kind to me. And yes, confession is good for my soul. How about yours? And so it is. Dr, Paul