In this blog, I often write about letting go of guilt, shame, and fear.
I am not an expert on absolution, but I’m pretty sure that absolution is one way people let go of such things.
Here’s one thing I do know: “Absolution” is part of the title of one of my favorite Pat Metheny tunes:
(If you can’t play that YouTube video of Half Life of Absolution, try clicking here. If you don’t want to play it, consider yourself absolved.)
Let’s check Google for a definition of “absolution,” okay?
formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment.
synonyms: forgiveness, pardon, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, clemency,
antonyms: punishment, condemnation
an ecclesiastical declaration of forgiveness of sins.
“the priest administered absolution”
Wow. That sounds great, doesn’t it? A formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment. That is EXACTLY what I’ve been thinking I need, as I prepare to return to work after a 10-day vacation.
Why do I need that? Are there sins I need to confess here?
Well, I do have one sin I committed last night before I went to bed. And as I was committing this sin, I was wondering (1) if I could forgive myself and (2) if so, how much time would it take for me to exonerate myself?
Perhaps we can all learn something, if I share this sin here.
Yesterday, our local supermarket had an unusual sale on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
buy 2 get 2 free!
As a result, I got one of these.
(image found here)
Even though I knew better, my jet-lagged brain, body, and soul chose to bring the entire pint of ice cream, with a spoon, into the living room, as I watched TV shows I had recorded during my trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Here is the result:
As I was committing this sin last night, I was thinking, “Okay. Okay. You can stop now. The more you keep going, the more you’re going to have to pay, in the future.”
I did manage to stop — as you can see — but later than I should have.
During and after the sinning, I knew I would be dealing with guilt — and other consequences — for some time.
I could not predict the half-life — nor the full-life — of my absolution process, but I knew it would take some time.
Why wait, though?
I hereby formally release myself from guilt, obligation, and punishment for this sin — granting forgiveness, pardon, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, and clemency.
I could keep feeling guilty about it, but … it’s done. Nothing is bringing that ice cream back, at this point.
I also wanted to tell you this: I was thinking about absolution yesterday, even before I committed the Sin of Ice Cream. On the day before my return to work, I was thinking about my manager Steve’s words:
Ann, you really have a harsh superego, don’t you?
… which means I tend to blame punish, and condemn myself for mistakes and imperfection, especially regarding things that matter to me.
So, as I head back to the hospital where I work, I wish to make the following resolution:
To absolve, forgive, pardon, and otherwise treat myself gently, for inevitable mistakes and imperfection.
Hey! That felt better than a half-pint of ice cream!
Thanks to Pat, Ben, Jerry, & Steve, to people who absolve themselves or others as best they can, and to you — of course! — for the full time you spent here, today.