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September 18, 2012 / JaymeJ

Guilt

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courtesy of Flicker/Kim Piero

There’s Catholic guilt…but I’m not Catholic. (Though I did attend 7 years of Catholic school….Could all those Hail Mary’s, Our Fathers, and hours of mass have become ingrained in my psyche?)

I’ve heard of Jewish guilt…but I’m not Jewish. (Though many friends and acquaintances are Jewish…Maybe by mere osmosis and proximity the trait has seeped in?)

Is there Lutheran guilt?

I feel guilty that I work too much. Am I neglecting my family, or my sleep? Even when I’m not “working” sometimes I can’t quiet my mind. My husband recognizes when I can’t stop the wheels in my head from turning.

I feel guilty that I’m not doing enough at work. There are things that I neglect to finish in a timely manner. Items I forget to add to our school newsletter. Papers that don’t get graded as quickly as they should. People who I need to manage more productively. 

I feel guilty that reading is piling up around me – I never do seem to get around to reading all the inspiring ed tech blogs, magazines, and websites that are bookmarked, arrive in my reader, or sit in my mailbox. Can one have too many tabs open?

I feel guilty that I read too much – The rush of joy I get when an email from the LA Public Library arrives in my inbox saying one of my holds is in. The escape I feel when I crack open a new book. The appreciation I feel for my family who allows me to read for hours at a time. The guilt I feel for having sat on the couch for hours reading away long stretches of my weekend.

I feel guilty that my children have not grown up in church. Tonight, my 7-year-old and I were discussing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (See, Jewish culture by osmosis and proximity.) I was comparing the Jewish day of atonement to Lent in the Christian church. We atone for our sins, we repent, we sacrifice in hopes of becoming less sinful, more holy, closer to God. My daughter asks about Lent. “What do people give up?” “Why?” We talk some more – Christians sacrifice so that we can feel a tiny semblance of the sacrifice Christ made for us. People give up sugar, coffee, saying bad words, television, smoking. Others do acts of service – volunteer work, charity. Others take steps to improve their life, exercise more, eat healthier foods. “I’d give up smoking,” she says. “Well, it has to be something you actually DO,” I explain. “Well, then, I’d exercise more,” says the 7-year old girl who dances 4 1/2 hours a week, plays soccer for another 2, and is constantly in motion on the playground at school. I pause for a moment. “See, since we never go to church, I really have no idea what Lent is,” she states. Guilt.

I feel guilty that I am going back to school. The time, the expense…the TIME, the EXPENSE.
I feel guilty that I am excited to be going back to school.
I feel guilty that I have not yet started on the application.
I feel anxious that I won’t get in. I feel guilty for thinking that way. Of course I will! I feel guilty for feeling overconfident. Guilt.

I feel guilty for not seeing my friends more often. What happened to those girls nights out? Laughing with girlfriends? Meals without cutting someone else’s food first or reprimanding siblings for annoying one another? Conversations face to face, rather than periodic text messages or emails.

I feel guilty for wanting to see my friends more often. The time away from my family. The expense of eating out and ordering that glass (who am I kidding…that bottle) of wine. Me time makes me a better wife, mother, companion…right?

I feel guilty for complaining. I am blessed.

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3 Comments

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  1. Tim Bedley / Jan 10 2013 8:06 pm

    How were you able to read my mind? 😉 Great post.

  2. mrtheriaultfvhs / Jan 24 2013 7:43 pm

    This was like a mini “Teacher Confession” session. It felt communal to read this. Thank you for sharing your fears and worries. In the Scarlet Letter Hawthorne exhorts us to share a little of our dark side (fears/failures) with others so that we don’t feel so alone. Thanks for having the courage to do this publicly.

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