I sat down at the table.
He wasn’t going to show up.
All day, I had looked forward to the appointment, not because I was happy, but because I was filled with dread. I wanted to get it over with and move on to something else.
Having to admit that I had made a huge mistake, having to look inward and address my deficiencies was a daunting task.
I’m not good at the serious self-deprecating behaviors. I can mask my truths with humor and I can shrug off instances of poor judgement, but this was big.
I didn’t think I was ready to have the conversation and detail, blow by blow, how I had erred and how I had turned a bad situation into something even worse.
I kept thinking I didn’t want to miss my day of reckoning, I didn’t want to live with the perpetual doubt of what my punishment was going to be. Would I be allowed to go scot-free on this one? And, if I was allowed to let this one slide by, would my normally worrisome personality allow me to move forward.
Doubt, in all of its powerful glory had made its way into my thoughts.
‘Forgive yourself’, I said. ‘It’s going to be fine. You have accepted the damage of your ways and you have made amends where amends needed to be made. The bridge has been restored and you can cross over into the land of redemption.’
I was just about to get up from the table and leave this place where minutes of waiting had felt like hours.
Just then, as I planned for my exit, he arrived and he sat down.
He had entered the room, quietly, stealing into the place of peace where rationalization and the map of self-preservation had led me to find.
I didn’t want to have the conversation anymore, now doubting whether I truly deserved to be punished.
He just looked at me and didn’t say a word. His pregnant pause was acting like a rod and reel, fishing into the lake of my mind to purge the thoughts and hear me utter them through the space from which words found voice.
I began to speak, pouring my truth, spilling my guts on to the wobbly table we now shared.
He stopped me and with a mocking grin shared these words, ‘Aren’t you going to greet me first?’
And so I did. I welcomed him to this discussion. I introduced him to Fear, Apprehension and Doubt, all present at the table and all making their case as I faced my truth.
He sat there, judge, jury and silent participant in all that was said.
When all was recounted and done, he walked away, looking at me one final time that said: ‘Until we meet again…’ And then he was gone.
I let him be my guide toward forgiveness. I let him berate me with his silence and I let him absolve me with his departure, the in-between of his visit leaving a very lasting impression on me.
‘Thank you, Conscience.’ was all I could say as I left the table, exited the room and went off into the world to make even more mistakes.