Tales From The Pew

As I walked down the isle of the church, I could hear nothing but my navy blue, Velcro-strapped shoes tapping across the ground. They told me that this wasn’t going to be intimidating, but when your mom tells you not to get any stains on your shirt before you leave the house the intimidation of the event is inevitable.

The taps of my schoolgirl shoes became louder and louder as I walked closer to the altar. I saw the two chairs, faced back to back, where my confession would take place. Staring forward at the ginormous cross hanging at the front of the church, I couldn’t help but question why I couldn’t do this at home from the comfort of my bed.

The inside of my mind was the exact opposite of the empty church –loud and chaotic. As I wracked my brain to remember everything the nuns told me, I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to put my hands in a fisted prayer position or the steeple position.

I went back and forth a few times in my mind before realizing that the priest was ready and waiting in his chair. Could he see my nerves? I sat down and quickly did the sign of the cross. I tucked my hands under my legs and kicked my feet back and forth nervously in the space between the chair and the ground.

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned,” I spoke at the wall of red candles flickered in front of me.

After an awkward silence I realized that this was my time to apologize for what I had done. But even on the car ride to the church, I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to apologize for.

Staring out the window, I thought of all the things I could be sorry for –stealing a candy bar, swearing at my parents, or stepping on my cat’s tail. But, as an only child and young Catholic schoolgirl, I hadn’t done any of these things.

“I’m sorry for jumping on the couch after my mom told me not to,” I blurted out.

I knew after it came out of my mouth that I shouldn’t have lied, but I wanted to get out of there and fast. I thought that maybe I should apologize for lying during a confession, but there was no going back now.

The priest told me to say five Hail Marys and I would be forgiven. That seemed like an awful lot for just jumping on the couch. I wondered how many I would get for lying during a confessional.

Sitting in the car, I started to tell my mom about my fake confession.

“You don’t have to explain,” she cut me off. “What went on in there is between you and God.”

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