Thursday, October 15, 2009

Self-flagellation - it's not as cool as the movies make it look

On our fantastic family retreat Thanksgiving weekend, we spent part of the first evening watching The Da Vinci Code and the inevitable 'what the hell is that man doing?' question came up. The man in question was Silas. And what he was doing was punishing the flesh to purify the spirit using self -flagellation and the wearing of a cilice.

It's quirky. A little disturbing. And somewhat hysterical. But I've been wondering this evening how much we do this to ourselves mentally. Oh sure, it's not as interesting or titillating as physical torture, but sitting for hours stewing/moping isn't much different, really. It's self-absorbed and creates nothing so much as more suffering.

My particular version of self-torture takes the former of biting my lip. And like self-flagellation its fairly pointless. I guess maybe I like the drama of it after all. It's certainly more martyry than just talking things through. And it's been many years since I could believably deny a martyr complex.

I'm sad. That's all really. And instead of just being sad I've been tightening the cilice with ridiculous stories that mostly begin "I should have" and "if only." I have no rosary to repeat 10 times. I just have what I'd hoped for to compare ad nauseum to what is.

And no. I'm not going to say more about that. ;-)

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