This morning Ruby (age 3), Henry (10 months), and I were playing ball in the music room. We sat on the rug and rolled the ball to each other in different ways, laughing and having fun. Suddenly Ruby looked at me with a startled look on her face. Her eyes were sad.
"I am so so sorry," she said. "This morning I hit mama. Mama said it is not okay to hit."
I nodded and smiled. "I can hear that you're really sorry," I said. "And mama is right--hitting isn't good." I asked her whether she wanted to call mama and say sorry, and at first she said yes. But then, just as suddenly, the cloud of contrition was gone and she wanted to play roll-the-ball some more.
I've had those moments of self-realization when a regret for a word, an action, an intention washes over me like a wave. Being able to confess it and put it in context--out loud with another person or silently, in my heart, with God--is one of the instant, saving graces I'm so grateful for. Whether we go to confession, pray, or simply share our feelings with a friend, something lightens, a little light shines in, and we are released from that which had us bound just moments before. Nice.