Confessional Sundays


Imagine that it’s 11am on a Sunday morning.  You finished your eggs, vegetarian sausage, bagel and orange juice and the crumbs serve as a testimony to your appetite. Relaxing, you stretch out your legs on the coffee table and pick up the New York Times. There’s something about the Sunday edition that appeals to the snob in you – maybe it’s the Sunday Magazine or the Week in Review – or maybe it’s the fact that you won’t find Target coupons thumbing through the Arts section.

On this particular morning, a ringing phone disturbs your moment of grandeur. You check caller ID and discover it’s a seldom-encountered friend. Unsure of what to expect, you answer only to hear a blubbering voice on the other end of the line. Your friend is unloading on the events of the weekend, the past week and maybe even the month when you realize you’ve been suckered into a Confessional Sunday experience.

The telltale signs of Confessionals include hysteria from a remote friend communicated on an early Sunday morning. Sundays are most often used as a day of confessions. Perhaps it’s the effect of years of programming that tell us Sundays are a day of reflection and reverence. I have a hunch that’s embedded in our DNA. Certainly in the South, where “blue” laws were in effect until about a decade ago, the separation of Church and Commerce was NOT practiced. There was a time when Sundays in Dallas were SO boring; you’d almost PREFER to go to a church service and be condemned publicly than rot in boredom.

Another sign of a Confessional is that the messenger is focused ONLY on his or her issues and there is no inquiry of your day or feelings.  The only importance throughout the Confessional is being a listener and delivering good energy. Any concern about the advisor’s well being is irrelevant. You’ve taken on the role of spiritual advisor instead of friend and it may or might not be consensual.

The person chosen for the role of advisor is usually someone who is trustworthy – won’t gossip and doesn’t criticize. They are often older and don’t party. They are conscientious and caring and leave others feeling better for the interaction. Basically, these are the “givers” in life. They have the space to give freely – their time, energy and focus. Their lives are simple – void of random cell phone calls and drama. Their homes are sanctuaries – relaxing and calming. In short, they comfortably take on the role of “home” for the person needing solid ground.

The problem with this setup is the “advisor” never gets to enjoy the friendship as a real friendship – being called upon only when needed. And the “confessor” only needs the friendship when feeling low and guilty. The Confessors live by the rule that life is just fine until it isn’t fine. They are Johnny-on-spots who know exactly where to go and be seen and often have one drink too many. They live a life of regret and “what might have been?”  I’ve had more than my share of these “friendships” that ultimately left me feeling used and drained.  Recently I decided that Sundays ARE a day of rest – from confessionals and sundry bickering provided by takers.