i’m sure i felt great guilt each time i neglected to practice my flute. even though the flute lessons following those lazy high school days contained amazingly beautiful sounds, i’m sure i felt really bad for not following my teacher’s instructions. i’d listen to James Galway and dream of when we’d one day be friends, colleagues in the flute business. but how would i ever get there if i didn’t practice?
truth is, i don’t actually remember what i dreamed of back in 1995. and while i admired James, i’m not certain that i thought i’d ever be that famous or that good a flutist. but i guess i know a little bit about spinning at least the beginnings of a good story.
yes, i did feel bad for not practicing the flute. that’s appropriate. especially since my teacher was awesome. and i’ve felt guilty for a lot of things before that time of life (like when i didn’t practice the piano) and after. guilt is healthy, to a degree. it’s problematic, however, when i feel guilty for things that are beyond my control. i’m not sure where i learned to do that, what circumstance(s) precipitated that behavior. why do i look at other people’s problems and quickly own them?
i say it’s just me being responsible. i blame it on being an older sister and yet i don’t remember feeling bad when my younger siblings were disciplined by our parents. sometimes even the most reasonable sounding explanation quickly disappears.
in the end, it doesn’t matter what started me down this path. i am where i am and i wish Siri could quickly reroute me.
my struggle with misplaced guilt is so real right now that even though i don’t know how to change, i do know that if i don’t, i’ll continue reaching this frustrating destination. i don’t even try to get here. i’m fine one moment and then i take on the guilt that isn’t mine to own and arrive, once again. here. annoyed. and desperate for a change.
sometimes, when i get here, i can easily distract myself. most days, when i get here, i angrily ask God for a reassignment. please. come on! anywhere but here. i’ll go. i’ll be faithful. it’ll be better. i’m sure.
but today, when i got here, i realized that i’ll keep on getting here no matter where i am because of how i get here–misplaced guilt.
i continue to pick up the mess that isn’t mine, thinking that i should be able to fix it and that its existence is all my fault. if i had just done my job, my duty, been better, more responsible–this wouldn’t be a problem. if i had just said the right words, at the right time, with the right tone, and the proper demeanor–this wouldn’t be a problem. it’s all my fault. we are here because i didn’t do something that i should (surely) know (by now) how to do. (after all, i’m almost 35.)
in the words of Debra Cox, “how did [i] get here? nobody s’pose to be here.”
guess i know how i’m spending a good chunk of tomorrow. i’ll be de-guilting with Jesus…and a few close fully-human friends. i’m so ready.
and don’t worry. after writing all of this down i feel so much better. if you can relate to misplaced guilt, i want to cheer you on as you fight for clarity. so let me know. i’ll get my pompoms ready. let’s do this.