The election of the new pope is a prophetic slap in the face for our egotistical excess. I’m not Catholic, and I’ve never completely understood Catholics’ preoccupation with Vatican politics. But I’ve been watching the Vatican closely since last month when Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became the 266th pope and instantly got two million followers—and counting—on Twitter.
It was a careless choice that resulted in significant trauma. I relive that choice. Every. Day. The force of regret from this experience silently envelops me in its lonely shame whether I try to run from it, attempt to cure it, or try to avoid it. It’s a slow bleed in my heart. A significant trauma can define the contours of life, shaping your reactions, hemming you in when you want to be brave, pulling you into a vortex of what if’s that paralyze you with fear and shame. It could be anything: a choice with devastating results; a betrayal; an addiction; abuse.
Full disclosure: I've never cared much for Lance Armstrong. Long before everyone was all abuzz about doping allegations, and maybe even at the height of the seven-time Tour de France winner's battle with testicular cancer, there was something about Armstrong that didn't set well with me. Maybe it was his arrogant demeanor coupled with the fact that he always seemed so downright angry.