All my life I have had a nagging guilt. If I don’t do something I know I should that little person is on my shoulder shaming me. I thought this was normal. Then I met people who seemed to love to do whatever they wanted and they didn’t seem to have this same mental baggage. Let me clarify that what I’m talking about his not criminal actions and guilt as a noun but things like leaving the dishes on the counter to go and watch television or guilt as a verb. Through conversations in my lifetime, I have found that this similar feeling is shared with others with who I share the same religion. My conclusion is that when I was baptized the water was laden with guilt. Catholic school reaffirmed through teachings that we should feel guilty for many things. When I was little if you didn’t eat all your dinner you were disrespecting a starving child in Africa. My mom could even package my food and toys and send them to Africa if I didn’t learn to appreciate all I had. I figured for sure this delivery program was through the church.
Bible teachings such as the story of the talents again focused on if you wasted your ability by burying your one talent and not developing it you were a bad individual. That just screams to me in a 21st century translation don’t sit around and watch television. I know this guilt stems from being baptized a Catholic. Why this is the same religion that got me feeling guilty at age 8. They told me I had to confess my sins in the sacrament of Confession. Imagine having sins at age 8, or the guilt of not thinking you had any to confess.
There seems to be no shortage of things that bring out pang of internal guilt. Her is a quick list.
Things that I can feel guilty about almost daily:
*Having a gym membership and not using it fully
*Not scrap-booking given all the supplies I have and how I owe it to my children to preserve their childhood
*Eating all the things I love that are not good for me
*Coveting Jennifer Aniston’s looks, former husband, and money. (insert your celebrity of choice)
*Watching Dancing with the Stars (insert your favorite tv show)
*Buying a new pair of shoes (how many do I need and surely there are African children without shoes too)
*Leaving food on my plate (causes vicious circle back to eating things not good for me)
*Failing to bring my own bags to the grocery store and having to use plastic sacks which harm the environment
*Not calling my sister, dad, friends, people I care about more often
And I know this guilt stems from being baptized a catholic. Why this is the same religion that got me feeling guilty to at age 8 tell me I had to confess my sins in the sacrament of Confession.
I have peace with God, we’re cool. When I falter the guilt creeps back. I talked about how I live with few regrets and it’s really true. It goes against every natural instinct to leave food on my plate. I realize now that was more my mother’s paranoia of wasting food than it was of being Catholic. I fell asleep a few nights at the table as a youngster because I do not care for cooked cabbage; have a stubborn streak.
I’m sure other religions feel guilt. I just haven’t met a good Catholic who doesn’t talk of things they should do or is hesitant to indulge without some remorse.
What can I say – pray for me.