Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Honest to God

I go to confession once a month, where I sit down at the City Dock Café in Annapolis across the table from Deacon Moore (one of my older, balding male friends), and I tell him everything I’m feeling guilty about.

He usually absolves me of my sins right then and there, in between sips of a cappuccino.

“So I have this resentment towards a certain person,” I explained to him yesterday morning. “And I read somewhere that the best thing to do is to pray for the person and to do something nice for her. But clearly that’s not working.”

My devout balding male friend laughs.

“I think that being honest about the resentment is pretty much all you can do,” he said. (You can see why I prefer him to the priests in the “dark phone booths” as Eric says.)


Which brings me to this exercise. If honesty can help absolve my guilt, then here are a few things that might go on my “character defects” list–you know, details missing from my resume:

1. I find Oprah somewhat annoying (but I’d still go on her show).

2. I played the mentally-ill card to try to get out of jury duty.

3. I own two Yanni CDs (but I haven’t listened to them since 1993).

4. When I met Mother Teresa, my first words were “I’m Theresa, too.”

5. When people ask how it was working with a modern-day saint, I immediately picture her ugly feet as I say “amazing.”

6. I can’t commit to a political party because I’m disgusted with both. Last presidential election, I scribbled in Eric’s name because he is wise, grounded, intelligent, and diplomatic. And his architectural training–designing houses that won’t fall down–makes him a natural for the White House. Plus he plays golf.


7. I wash my hair once a week (like my mom). And I still use the make-up I bought for my wedding. (That’s how much I like to primp.)

8. I hate yoga. It does nothing for me. (And yes, I did give it a chance–an entire year of weekly classes.)

9. I can only meditate when I’m moving and burning calories.

10. I have skipped Mass the last two Sundays because I’ve been traveling (and my mom always said you got a dispensation for that). And I think my church schedule is a bit more relaxed ever since I signed up for “FaithDirect,” which automatically deducts dough from my checking account every week–whether I’m there or not. (Despite rumors to the contrary, school administrators really do check envelope numbers when you try to get your kids into Catholic school).


11. I cuss like a sailor, and I like it.

12. I tell dirty jokes. Lots of them. And I like that too. (For example: What did Snow White say to Pinocchio when she tackled him to the ground and sat on his face? Lie to me! Lie to me!)

13. I slouch and I don’t care.

14. I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom based mostly on guilt. I tried to predict which option would make me feel LESS guilty (because there is guilt with both)–and which voices inside my head would be more difficult to ignore, and they were definitely those that supported the whole stay-at-home thing: “You should be there the first time he bites his sister, craps in the potty, and makes front-page headlines by pushing a preschool buddy into fifteen feet of freezing water. You won’t regret it.” I view these years as one long spiritual exercise–a purgatory of sorts–that leads to enlightenment and exhaustion.


15. I don’t enjoy volunteer work. (Read next post.)

16. When I was nursing David and Katherine, friends referred to me as the “uni-boober” because one side (righty) produced much more milk than the other.

17. I think Will Ferrell’s latest movie “Blades of Glory” should win an Oscar for Best Picture. I haven’t laughed so hard since watching Benny Hill with my dad.

18. I broke every single one of “The Rules” when dating Eric. Example: On our first date, I exhibited symptoms of serious gastrointestinal distress. (He sprayed me with Lysol.)


19. I barely broke 1,000 on my SATs (I suffer from test-taking anxiety, in addition to every other kind of anxiety.)

20. I spent my senior year of college volunteering for the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, Indiana as a way to win the heart of the sexy director. He ignored me, but the faculty acknowledged my efforts–with an award for outstanding service to the community.

21. For Halloween one year I dressed up as a priest having an affair. (I wore a clerical robe and lipstick all over my face.)

22. I was kicked off my high school drill team for bringing booze to band camp.

23. I don’t wear sunscreen.

24. If it weren’t for the whole destruction-of-the-planet thing (and all the environmental hazards that come with it), I’d support global warming, as I love the warmer winters.

25. I’m only just beginning.

That exercise does actually feel kind of liberating. You should try it.

  • Kathy

    1. I can’t stand Oprah. Or Dr. Phil. 2. I still get cold sores on my mouth because years ago I kissed, then slept with, someone who looked just like Jesus. 3. I once stole an animal who was on the brink of death from an abuser. 4. I harbor feelings of hatred towards my neighbor and struggle against wishing their house would catch on fire. 5. I lie to my mother about practically ever major thing in my life. She still thinks I met my husband at work, not thru a dating service. 6. Am I feeling better yet?

  • http://HASH(0xcefcaa0) Della

    Beyond Blues Blog and Theresa crack me up! It is so FUNNY and so TRUE!! I give theresa kudos for expressing her true self to help find her true self. And being a Cathlic to boot boy theresa i am certain lights up her cofessionals. You go Girl!!! If you really do find out what SANITY actually is write and let us know!!!

  • Jack

    Theresa, I regularly read your CNS column in our diocesan newspaper, The Post, published in Peoria, IL. The content of your newspaper column is very different from your blog–based only on my reading of this latest post. None of us is perfect. I’m the first to admit that I’m a sinner, but taking a wink-wink, giggle-giggle approach to sin, as if it’s sort of cool, (#11 & 12) strikes me as a bit hypocritical. Either we get it or we don’t. Maybe I’m square because I’m so much older than you (I’m 56). I’m not judging your commitment to your faith or to Christ, but I wonder–do you have to write cool to be on Beliefnet? Diocesan newspapers are conservative and follow church doctrine to the letter. The publisher is usually the local bishop. But the difference between your newspaper column and your blog is striking. Which one is the real you?

  • http://HASH(0xceff034) pamela williams

    my best buddy died 01042007.he was only 2 yrs old.had an operation died the next day.and you say god is here?right now?because he was not with adev on 01042007.he trusted us and we took him to his death.if he never had that operation he would be faith has left me.and i wonder why everyone else can still believe after 01042007.

  • http://HASH(0xcf006f0) Karen Tesar

    Oh God, Pamela. I am so sorry. What was the beautiful little guy’s name? You typed “adev”. My first thought was maybe you meant *Dave* but then a second later I wondered if it was just a special Hebrew name. Either way, I am crying with you. Shalom

  • http://HTNL Sheri

    I thought your insights were great! I have always been a little supicious of the Catholic religion, and I grew up in the 60’s 4 blocks from the University of Notre Dame. I applaud your honesty and candor

  • http://HASH(0xcf01a0c) Aura Matthews

    I love your column – it’s so funny! And so true about many things! I might try this exercise later.

  • http://HASH(0xcf01d0c) SuzanneWA

    1) I started smoking right as I entered college. 2) I also started drinking beer in college (legal age was 18 then). 3) Lost my virginity to the man I thought I was going to marry at 20 (is that too old?) 4) Had a nervous breakdown soon after (parents found an entry in my diary that said I took one hit of weed that night), and they promptly put me in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. 5) Have been “horny” most of my adult life! Thanks, Therese, for letting me do my own exercise! It HAS been liberating. In fact, I haven’t thought of these “indiscretions” in years (except for the nervous breakdown, that was later diagnosed in 2001 as bipolar, and has followed me all my life). Keep up the irreverent humor in your blogs; I heartily enjoy it…

  • http://HASH(0xcf02938) John McManus

    Therese, Do you and/or your Deacon friend take seriously his “absolution” for your “confessed sins”? It is not within the sacramental role of a Deacon ordianed in the Roman Catholic Church to administer the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance/Confession). Your blaze attitude was in bad taste. J. McManus

  • http://HASH(0xcf0348c) patrick

    what i usually do with resentments that confound me is to ask myself what it is that i see or sense in the other person/place/ thing/institution/principle that i cannot accept about myself. recently, a suggestion was floated to list all the things i could think of that i thought i really need to accept. patrick

  • http://HASH(0xcf05550) Val

    Your way to handle guilt is Wonderfully refreshing and funny! You are GREAT Theresa!

  • http://HASH(0xcf058c0) Val

    Your way to hand resentments are also honest and wonderfully refreshing, and funny! as you can see I am a perfectionist and have to do things right, I try to do them right the first, as mky dad taught, but I often screw up! I think sometimes just to fight against that thought! Since I am at work, I better get to work! I read you often, and you are very talented woman, I like reading on you look at depression, because I too, suffer from it. Gotta go! Val

  • http://HASH(0xcf06f84) Edmond Hodge

    Therese, I enjoyed every moment of your column. It was hilarious!I was watching a church service this morning and it spoke of not feeling guilty of our past or feelings we have but instead to acknowledge them and to move on-we shouldn’t feel beat ourselves up over them-WE ALL HAVE SHORTCOMINGS! Will Ferrell is terrific, and you are absolutely correct Benny Hill was as they say in my neck of the woods, “off da chain”, I remember staying up late and watching him as well-mostly for the women though! Awesome, Awesome, totally awesome column-good stuff! Take care, Edmond.

  • http://HASH(0xcf072d8) Shannon Morris

    I really enjoyed your thoughts and I think many of us need to relax and enjoy ourselves more. I am also glad that you have a listening ear that you can turn to regularly. More of us need those as well. But it has always been my understanding that only God can absolve sin. Isn’t that the whole reason Christ died on the cross? He is the only one worthy of such forgiveness. Just a thought.

  • http://HASH(0xcf08a68) Nancy

    I don’t care what anyone else says….you keep writing the way you write for your belief blog. I too suffer from depression, alcoholism, mental illness and all that crap. When I finally stop being depressed, resentful etc. from a past mistake I have made (and refuse to repeat that same mistake) I know God has stepped in to help me grow. As for the “absolution” I am sorry but the only one who can TRULY give absolution is God for he does it by taking away the thoughts in your head about what occurred. There is a HUGE difference between religion and spirituality. I believe religion was created by man for the simple fact if it was “God created” why would God have so many different “religions” that in the end all are suppose to do the exact same thing – have you come closer to him. I believe spirituality is God created for it gives God what he wants – your willingness to have faith in him to take care of you as long as your willing to leave it in his hands to direct you for good. I grew up with religion and did all those “requirements” to be of a religious faith. It didn’t stop me from becoming mentally ill, suicidal, an alcoholic, and extremely resentful towards life in general. When it was finally explained to me what spirituality was and I started practicing it I found God stepped in and did for me what I could not do for myself. These days, I combine both. The religious “requirements” help ground me into routine but the spirituality helps me understand what God wants and expects from me. God bless All.

  • http://HASH(0xcf09fa4) Robin Johnson

    Thank you! I laughed so hard at some of these, especially the one where you dressed up as a priest having an affair-HILLARIOUS! I cuss like a sailor and like it too, so do the majority of my friends. I do like Oprah, and haven’t seen Blades Of Glory, but I think I’ll check it out. Rules of dating-baah,humbug! On a date, or anywhere else, whatever happens, happens. :)

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