Chasing Contentment

Thursday, September 8

My home and my community were spared the wrath of Katrina. We are now the temporary - or not so temporary - home to thousands of evacuees. We see and feel the effects of this storm daily.

And we are collectively - at least if the conversations of my friends and myself are any indicator - guilty.

The situations in our lives that were difficult two weeks ago still exist and haven't diminished in difficulty... jobs that don't fit right, freedoms challenged, babies desired, niches sought, jobs needed, children seeking... and yet, we all feel guilty for struggling with them. And I mean all of us.

Guilt walks with me. I've talked about that before. Guilt is my traveling partner, much like God (thankfully God's the bigger of the two), so it's no surprise that I'm having this guilt. But a friend of mine talked with me about it last night, and I didn't know she knew my friend Guilt at all. We all have this survivor guilt of sorts, this feeling that we wish things were easier or different and this rush of guilt that washes over us as soon as we think those things.

Because who are we to wish for easier or different when we have jobs to complain about and homes to do that complaining in? The tragedy of Katrina has made us more in touch with the plight of others, more aware and willing to give what assistance we can. But because those thoughts are so present in our minds and hearts, we're all feeling overwhelmed and unable to either adequately help or realistically continue our lives as they were before.

I haven't read a book or magazine or watched a movie (or even non-news television until last night) or taken a long, hot bath (one of my very favorite late-night things to do) for more than a week now. We are consumed by this. I have thought about cancelling Netflix, about quitting this blog, about all manner of things because I feel so very out of sorts. I feel out of place in my own skin. And I've held off writing this post because feeling that way makes me feel guilty.

It's our own dirty little secret, the thing we talk about amongst ourselves - friends! - but not out loud in public because it's such an ugly, selfish thing. And logically, I know it's okay to feel this way, but the guilt says it isn't. The fact is we are all blessed. We were spared. It wasn't us. I told a friend that I'm all full of 'uns' this week - uncertain and unsure and unhappy and unproductive and unpleasant and unimaginative and unattractive and unloveable and unsympathetic and unChristianlike.

Because, really, if I were feeling and acting in a Christian manner, wouldn't I be volunteering more, wishing less? So there's our dirty little secret.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, September 08, 2005  ]


Thanks for expressing so eloquently what I'm struggling with as well. I think exposing Guilt to the light takes away some of its power. I appreciate your writing here so much. Thank you!

By Blogger crisper, at 9:36 AM  

I appreciate your writing, too. Please don't quit the blog! (That's some of my selfish wishing...)

Don't know what else to say, except that I very much identify with feeling the Guilt. Much love to you and yours, my blogging buddy.

By Blogger Jana, at 8:26 AM  

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