Guilt is peeking at me from outside my dining room window today.
Guilt sits out in the rain – with its puppy dog eyes – looking pathetic, sad and needy. It whispers, “let me in.”
Guilt reminds me of my years as a single mother, where the Christmas season was about finding childcare during winter break more than enjoying the cold weather and cuddling with my babies while sipping hot chocolate each morning.
Guilt reminds me of the striving: more work, more pay, more time; less worry, less fear and less loneliness.
Guilt peeks at me from outside my home today because I sit here privileged and honored to be home with my babies. Home with my little one and home when the big-littles come home from school. Guilt wants me to feel bad for feeling so good.
Guilt tries to shame me for delighting in these cozy socks and enjoying yet another leisurely cup of tea after lunch while playing Christmas music and lighting candles for no one other than myself.
Of course, Guilt doesn’t want me to think about the fact that our income was cut in half after I came home from working many years. Guilt doesn’t like for me to remember the strain financially and the longing for the career I came to love. Guilt only wants me to feel bad for feeling good about my life.
I’m not angry at guilt, though, I appreciate its presence, even. Guilt has inspired me to *be* merry. When I really look at the blessings I am showered with it swells my heart with gratitude.
Guilt moves me into thankfulness, and for that I am obliged.
Guilt spurs me to reach out this season and bless a single mama whose working hard for her children.
Guilt brings me to reflect on my needs years ago and be an active participant in someone else’s life.
As I sit with my tea, watching the rain fall and inhale the mixed fragrance of Christmas tree and cinnamon apple candles – I am reminded of the skinny path I stayed on, and of the diligence and trust I painstakingly exercised that led me here.
So no, guilt, I will not let you in – but I do see you. I see your face and it moves me.
I will open my curtains wide, turn the music up louder, sweep with vigor and fold my laundry with pride – in thankfulness of where I am today. I will remember the women who are where I once was: earnestly providing for her family and mightily playing roles of both mother and father – and I will lift her up today in both word and deed.
“You are precious, my friend, you are deeply loved. You are strengthened and filled for each days demands. You are covered and you are radiant!”
Guilt loses its adverse power when you don’t allow it to rob you of gratitude and thankfulness. Then, guilt actually helps you to remain present and aware of grace and mercy – both which you have been given and that which you are capable of bestowing upon another.
I believe guilt was designed for this good: that we are to see its face and let it stir us to action. That we are not to carry it or let it in, but to simply acknowledge it enough to cause us to reflect on what we are truly thankful for – and let it move us.
My mother has a method called the “guilt shield”, where she holds up both hands to the winds of shame – protecting her from the weight that guilt attempts to lay on your shoulders. I would say to take that one step further and let your “shield” be invisible – kinda like Wonder Woman’s invisible jet – so we can clearly identify its message.
Because there is always a message – if we dare to open our eyes and examine it closely.
What guilt lingers around you today? What thankfulness could it be secretly whispering of and in what ways could it possibly move you to action?
Cheers to not just having a Merry Christmas, but to *being* merry this season!