As some of you may have read elsewhere, I’m working the 12 steps right now for self-improvement. I’ve been dragging my feet at Step 9, Amends. Biblical Amends is confessing my wrongdoing to people humbly, with no excuses, arguing, or turning the blame back on them, and asking for their forgiveness.
After 2 months of worrying and putting it off, I finally made my amends to my wife last night. She knew about most of the things, and there were a couple things that shocked her, but I put out all my secrets, guilt, and shame. There were short questions and long pauses, but in the end she said that even though she may need some time to process, she loves me no less and is willing to forgive me in time and keep moving forward together. Loving woman that she is, she said that even though I hurt her with my confessions, she was proud of me for telling her when I could just as easily have put them out of my mind. Y’all.
It played out as well as I could have hoped and better than I expected. It was painful and contrary to survival instincts, like cutting something out of my body with a table knife, but now I’m no longer hiding anything from her or trying to manage my guilt. There was a very real risk of consequences here, but being honest was the right thing to do, and in the work up to that moment I was assured that I would get through whatever happened because I had done my part to make it right. Now there are no more secrets, and with no more secrets there are also no more lies, deception, omission, guilt, shame, distance, or walls.
I feel a little gross for saying this, but as cliche as it sounds, I feel like a weight has been physically lifted off my shoulders. This was the most difficult amends for me to make, and now that it’s finished I can approach the other people I’ve harmed with more assurance that things will be okay. The next challenge will be facing the people from my past who also hurt me, but if I can find it in me to forgive them (Step 8), I should have no reason to dread meeting them.