Prompt 112 last week from Nadia Bolz-Weber was writing about “Things I’m not proud of…” Here is more:
Write a confession—something you did or said that you still carry with guilt and shame. Then write your own absolution, honoring the aftermath of your actions, calling in grace.
*Optional: Burn after writing.
This was powerful for me. I wrote and wrote about things I am ashamed of. Of words that I have spoken to my own children and my students. My tongue is too sharp. Over the years, I have felt the millstone around my neck getting heavier and heavier, a sad reminder of the little ones I have offended.
Then He said to the disciples, “…It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he shouldoffend one of these little ones.
I wrote my confession and then shredded, instead of burning, it (due to the smoke alarm in my flat).
As a result of Nadia’s prompt, I subscribed to the Studio Visits at The Isolation Journals. Tonight I got to go to my first Studio Visit with Nadia Bolz-Weber and Suleika Jaouad. It was a lovely hour spent soaking in grace and hope and peace.
God, I thank you that you understand that I am complicated, so many folded together layers of humanity. So much to be ashamed of, yet so much to rejoice in. So much fruit and life and joy and service. I thank you that you have gradually given me freedom to grow past my mistakes, actions, and words that shame me. You are never surprised by what I do, you love me and forgive me. Thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for picking up the pieces and patching me together with you, the living Word of God. Amen.
When I saw Suleika’s prompt today, it seemed like a complete colorful circle for me in The Isolation Journals: “Reflect on all the colors that make up your emotional palette–from the brightest neons to the drabbest grays. Examine the different hues and shades that occur each morning, midday, afternoon and evening. Write about how they’re playing out on a canvas, how they work together to make each day a painting of its own.”
Instead of writing, I painted a picture of my emotional palette. It has all the colors in my paint box, from the inquisitive, inspired, strong and valued yellows to the appalled, revolted and infuriated reds. It has the lonely isolated and exposed blues. My painting and life during this time is a joyful, frustrated, amazed, peaceful, powerful, and excited rainbow of isolation with a shadowy covid flower right smack dab in the middle of every single day.
I was delighted to learn that The Isolation Journals will continue, one prompt per week. If you are interested in joining, visit Suleika’s website here to add your name to get the emailed prompts.
Is there a person in your family who is the holder of human stories and conspiracy theories? I have a sister like that. Over the years, I liked to imagine that her rumors and theories were just that and not really true about the history of our family. I have always been a bit of a Pollyanna.
I prefer not to hear about the dysfunction of the humans in our family, but she seems to be a collector of these stories and is not afraid to tell them. She uses them to keep us all more honest and down-to-earth. Nothing shocks her. She has a much healthier appreciation of the complex truth of human experience than someone like me.
She is three years my senior, so I grew up with her and her stories. Most often I didn’t believe her about alcoholism, adultery, out-of-wedlock births, undisclosed gender and sexuality issues. How did she know all these things? She is a detective in her own right.
As a teen and adult, I began accepting that there were truths in her stories, and I have come to more greatly appreciate the complexity of human life.