The Twelve Steps and Lent: Step 9
Steps. The word 'steps' is neutral. It's a step - and increment - a gradation. I'm making the assumption that most of my readers are not the kind that leap tall buildings in a single bound or that run up steps three at a time. Sorry, Rocky Balboa, but I am no buffed Italian Stallion and the stairs up to the museum in Philadelphia would leave me winded. Perhaps, dear Farmer, you and I have enough mileage or enough aches & pains or enough trepidation that one step at a time is quite sufficient.
Even if you ARE the adventurous type, these kind of steps are best taken one at a time. In fact, you may climb down one or two to start back up again. These steps demand and deserve our attention and focus. It may take us days, weeks, months, even years to stand on just one step for it to feel natural and "right".
Making amends to someone - directly whenever possible - is one hellavuh step. Just trying to make contact with someone you ran over or discarded in your self-centered pursuit of gratification may prove difficult. Bear in mind that you were not on the receiving end of your manipulation, deception, abuse or neglect. You were not the one who was taken for granted.
Through going through the gradual process that are the steps to recovery you have recalled what you have done wrong, confessed it and understood that - as far as God is concerned, the slate is now clean.
Step nine is going back to the person who may have a rather hefty laundry list on you -- the things done and the things left undone -- and saying that you are sorry with your whole being. Trying to right the wrongs. Another tall order, another opportunity for the grace of the Higher Power to work in each of you that which neither of you can inspire. Bruised or broken trust is difficult to recover from.
There are times when you can get in touch with the person you harmed. You get your foot in the door, you started telling them about your divine deliverance to sanity and they may be too embittered to forgive you. That can happen. What you can take from it is that you saw the error of your ways and tried to make it better. Period.
The person you offended may have died. You cannot make direct amends to them. write them. Lay it all out. Then listen to your dreams - whether you get some notion that she or he has heard you. Hold on to the written confession for a while - then when the time is right, burn the confession to ashes as a token of laying that error to rest.
Take the time to seek these people out --- UNLESS you are convinced that revisiting the issue will cause more harm than good.... then use the ritual above.
When we face each of those we have hurt, our pain is exorcised... and so is theirs. Less baggage, less anger, less unfinished business. After this step you will have the freedom to live more and more in the present and a brighter future.
'Create in me a clean heart O God, and sustain me with your Holy Spirit'.