In Which I Face My Old Nemesis, False Guilt

Little Madison made her appearance 2 weeks early today, weighing in at 6 lbs. Both mama and baby are doing well. Meanwhile, another daughter in-law occupied a room at the same hospital, one floor up. She has a staff infection in her arm and just returned home this evening. It was disorienting visiting in one room, waiting for the baby’s arrival, and then seeing my other daughter in-law walk through the door with a huge bandage on her arm.

With so much going on at once my head’s spinning. I do so much better with structure and routine, but some things can’t be predicted or scheduled.  I’ve been taking care of my 3 yr. old granddaughter while her mama was laid up in the hospital, and trying to keep on top of the housework, cooking, and finishing the afghan (which is finally done, whew!)

I suspect that some of my parts thrive on days like these. Even amid feelings of panic (I have to ration my energy in a miserly fashion so there’s enough to get me through each day), there’s a deeper feeling of contentment. Contentment at being up to the challenge. Of being able to handle whatever life throws my way. Of being able to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

I’ve been writing about my confusion regarding doing for others—of being functional. Being functional in a Cinderella sort of way was a role conferred upon me during my childhood. Being functional had negative connotations. It doesn’t have to now, in the present. I can be functional and needed without losing my dignity. Nothing is being stolen from me. I was here these past few days at a critical time in several lives, and that feels good. I’m waiting for the usual guilt that accompanies enjoyment, and it must be dragging its feet. Maybe it realizes it isn’t going to be welcomed with open arms any more. At the very least, it will be met with narrowed, suspicious eyes.

Sometimes we get so used to our excess baggage, to the emotional junk we’ve accumulated along life’s way, that it becomes as much a part of us as our own skin. Guilt, I’m beginning to see, false guilt at least, is nothing but a parasite. I was thinking earlier about the possibility of my daughter in-law having that horrible flesh eating bacteria that’s been going around. What  a horrendous thing that would be to deal with; the very thought is repulsive. And yet, in a sense, don’t most of us carry a lot of spirit and joy eating bacteria around inside of us?

Just a thought.  I know I’ve lots of parasites of that sort, the kind that just wiggle their way inside your soul and nibble away at one’s sense of self. I’m just beginning to see this, and maybe I won’t even be able to do much about it now. Enlightenment is a process. But the thought is there. It’s taken seed, and I’ve a mustard seed of faith to believe that it won’t stop with this one realization.


2 thoughts on “In Which I Face My Old Nemesis, False Guilt

  1. congrats on a lot of things!!! especially the seed of realization within you that is now planted and ready to grow. spirit and joy eating bacteria….as kirstin says is quite a visual!! you are a very skilled and talented writer in our opinion.

    thank you again for a wonderful post


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