There’s a hole in the side of my parents bathtub and it’s all my fault.
I was 11 years old. We had only lived in our newly built house for 2 years. On this particular evening my siblings and I were getting ready to go to a square dance. Yes, I just said square dance. Leave me alone. It was cool.
Since I have four sisters the mirrors were in high demand. Being lower on the totem pole also meant my need for a mirror was not as important as the 16 year old’s need.
So what’s a girl to do? I had to see what I looked like from head to my sweet cowboy booted toes! There was no other option. I had to stand on the edge of the bathtub in order to see myself in the mirror above the sink. (And I looked great!)
It’s a bit wobbly though standing up there. I lost my balance and leaned backwards, my arms thrown out to the sides to steady myself. That’s when I felt the heel of one of my boots break through the side of tub. I felt it . . . heard it . . . looked at the hole . . . and started sobbing.
My dad was going to be furious. Remember when I said it was a new house? Did I also mention he built it himself!? And I had ruined it. All because of my stupid boots too. I couldn’t believe it.
He arrived home from work a couple minutes later. I didn’t even have time to calm down before my mom told me to go tell him. My feet felt heavier than lead as I dragged myself downstairs. Can you picture me in my cowgirl outfit, sobbing and gasping out the story of the hole to my dad? I braced myself for the worst.
He hugged me. He told me to stop crying and that he wasn’t mad. He said there was a lesson to be learned here about vanity. That was it. The hole is still there in the bathtub over 10 years later and it always reminds me of my vanity . . . and of a father’s mercy.
When we go to God the Father with our sins, His perfect love and mercy embraces us no matter how badly we think we’ve screwed up. He can’t get mad if we’re sorry, because it means at least we’re trying and we want to be better. Through the priest in confession, God tells us what we need to learn from our mistakes.
That day I learned that a seemingly small sin like vanity matters. I learned that we never have to be afraid to tell our Father in heaven that we broke one of His commandments. He is always waiting with open arms to say,
“It’s okay. I’m not mad. What did you learn from this mistake?”
I also learned you probably shouldn’t stand on a bathtub with heels on.