There’s this bit in the Bible that says (basically) when we stuff up we know about it because our conscience tells us so. And if we don’t feel it in our conscience then (unless we’re loony psychopaths – okay, that’s my addition, not the Bible) we’re probably okay, and we don’t need to worry.
Easy, eh? It’s a built-in kind of self-regulator. We stuff up, we feel bad, we say sorry, we get forgiven, we move on.
Got that? Right.
Well, here’s my True Confession:
About ten years ago I made a stuff up so bad it could only be described as a Super-Dooper-Cock-Up (to be henceforth known as the SDCU). It was bad. I felt terrible, and it broke apart one of the most beautiful friendships I’ve ever known. Yes, it was that bad.
She forgave me, kind of, and I forgave myself, kind of. But the trouble with SDCUs, and especially for people with long memories (like me) is that I could never really let it go. How could I have been so dumb? Even worse, how could I have been so dumb and been so convinced of my rightness for so long? How could I have ignored what must have been thumping in my conscience?
I didn’t really tell anyone at the time. Mostly because the one person I would normally have told was the person I’d just done a SDCU number on, and I couldn’t be in the same room as her any more without crying. It was that bad. I knew what I’d done wrong, the memory of my stupidity wouldn’t leave me, and I vowed never to do it again.
The thing is though, we move on. Time heals, and even the biggest SDCUs get papered over in the rooms of our memories, till all they are is a lump in the fabric, a scar where a wound used to be, and that’s pretty normal. You learn to live with these things, and you learn not to put yourself in situations where you’ll do the same thing again. It’s okay. Even SDCUs are okay when you can learn from them.
A few months ago, however, I was praying and God dropped this thought in my spirit, this thing that I just had to do, and, like most times when God tells people to do something, it freaked me out completely, and the only thing I could think was “But God…I can’t.”
Come on God, seriously. Don’t you remember about the SDCU?
And that’s when I realized.
It wasn’t my conscience condemning me at all. It wasn’t God. It was me.
There absolutely WAS a Super-Dooper Cock-Up: but it wasn’t the dumb thing I did to my friend. That was forgivable, and should have been moved on from years ago. No. The real SDCU was not talking about it to anyone, and allowing the guilt to stop me from reaching out to anyone for ten years. For that I’m truly sorry.
That’s why I’ve made my July 2012 resolution: I’m going to keep talking about how I’m feeling, and I’m going to keep blogging. Stuff-ups happen. All the time. We’re ridiculously human. But it’s only when we start admitting our faults to others and listening to our consciences rather than our emotions that we can really stop the cycle of the SDCU. What do you think? It’s scary, but do you care to join me in this big endeavour?