Monday, September 4, 2006

Absolution/Realm of the Muse

Muse: Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 542 (excluding definition)

–noun 1. act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties. 
2. state of being absolved. 
3. Roman Catholic Theology. a. a remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ. 
b. the formula declaring such remission.

I was raised Catholic, when I was young, and even as I was growing up, it wasn't unusual for my mother to go to church twice in one day.  When I met the woman I knew would one day be my wife, I wasn't surprised to learn that she was deeply religious as well.  When we married and our thoughts turned to children, there was never any question that they would be raised as we were. 

When Danijela and our children were killed, I blamed not just myself, but I blamed God as well.  What kind of a God takes the lives of children, babies, before they even have a chance to taste life?  I hated him for what he had done and I begged him to take my life as he had taken theirs.  When he ignored my prayers, my pleas, I reached the point where the only thing I felt for him was hatred and disgust and I knew I had to walk away from my faith if I had any hope of moving on with my life.

For eight years I lied to myself. I pretended that the charade I lived was a reality and I might have continued believing it had I not met Bishop Stewart.  Somehow, he saw through me and over the months I treated him he found a way to chip away at the walls I'd carefully erected around myself to hide the truth.  Little by little he discovered my secrets, the guilt, the deceptions, working toward that night when he coaxed me toward that final step, absolution.

I'll never know how he knew it was something I needed to do.  I never told him that he was one of a very few who would ever hear the whole story.  In the years since they'd died I could never bring myself to relive it, not even with Tata, though he'd asked on so many occasions. It was just something I couldn't bring myself to talk about, a pain that was mine alone to bear.  But with him it was different and when he asked to hear my confession I couldn't not allow it.

The tears I shared with him in those early morning hours were ones I had held inside for far too many years, companions to the guilt and blame that I bore more openly for those who knew me.  The loss of my family had changed me, it had stripped a part of who I used to be away and for many years I was sure I would never see it again.

With absolution I've finally found a measure of peace, an acceptance,  and while it cannot totally erase the feelings of loss, it does make them easier to bear. Words alone will never be enough to express how I feel toward Bishop Stewart for doing what no one else had been able to do.  I thank him for coming into my life when he did, for not giving up on me when I tried to push him away.  I thank him for giving me back my faith, and the connection to my family that religion has always held in my life.  But most of all, I thank him for my life...


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