When I was a little girl I loved to play with my younger sister in our backyard. We would dance the hula hoop, make cakes from mud, catch tadpoles (ewww! I know...), build bonfires (not allowed today), and do many other things our mother would probably not have approved of had she known what we were up to. She would look at us from the kitchen window and call out our names when it's time for dinner. We'd giggle and wash up and try to be at our best behavior at the dining table, with our secrets left in the garden, only to be rediscovered the next day.
Recently I've felt like that little girl again before my heavenly Father. I asked Him permission to "step outside", play a bit, and discover new secrets that the great world out there had to offer. Out of His love, and knowing I had to learn my lessons well, He allowed me to play outside the box I had built over the years in my spiritual journey.
I could feel Him watching me, guiding me, and telling me gently when I've crossed some lines. I could see dangerous forests and beguiling creatures for what they were after initially appearing to be attractive and interesting. I've got some cuts and bruises from my explorations, but nothing major. Yet.
A couple of weeks ago I went to confession. I talked to an unfamiliar priest in the U.P. parish and poured out the sins I had accumulated since my last good confession. After listening to my litany of woes, he simply said that I was still in transition and that I had to be patient, for God Himself was patient with me.
That's it? I thought to myself. No long sermons? The penance he gave me was not what I expected, as I came that night feeling like the lost sheep from Scriptures. Maybe the priest was being too kind. However, when I returned to my seat to pray, I felt God's love washing me clean. I felt the grace of forgiveness, of welcoming, and of starting over. I was being too hard on myself, when all God wanted, like my mother by sundown, was for me to come home.
I wish I could say I didn't sin after that anymore, but I still did. I still do. But just as I clean up after every playtime under the sun, I will keep on repenting from my sins, confessing them, and amending my life. I fail more often than not, but His grace is enough for me.