I like lists.
I like watching all the year end best-of lists that come out every December.
I have a Goodreads account that lets me make lists of books to read, have read, and currently reading.
I have a list in my mind of favorite songs, favorite movies, and favorite performers (which is constantly changing).
I have a list in my mind of favorite athletes (which changes less frequently).
I have a list of favorite Bible verse and church songs (which changes based on the day and the topic).
I like to make to do lists. They help keep me organized and I feel accomplished as I cross each item off the list.
I make pro and con lists when faced with challenging decisions.
So far, this post is just a list of the lists I like!
But the list I put the most effort into was the list I made of people I had harmed. I wrote by name the people I knew I had treated poorly: those I had lied to, those I spoke harshly about, those people who didn’t even know I had done something wrong to them, those people I betrayed. I wrote down all of their names.
(Quick side note: this is part of the 12 step process; it is step 8. I worked on this step with my sponsor–not on my own. If you have not begun the process that begins with self-reflection and reliance on God, do not start here. And do not do this on your own. You need a sponsor or spiritual guide to work with you at this point.)
The process of making that list was humbling. I was more and more coming to grips with what I had done and was now ready to take responsibility for it. I had hurt people–sometimes accidentally, but quite often intentionally.
Listing the names took the process out of my head and put it onto paper. I could no longer avoid. I could no longer pretend. The names were there.
The next step in the process was simultaneously the most difficult and the most healing.