I never had much use for it. Perhaps because I recognized its shortcomings. It doesn’t push you to be a better person, I’d tell myself. It pushes you to feeling putrid about yourself and there are enough other forces doing just that, so you may as well kick guilt to the wayside.
But these days, now that I’m less anxious about keeping things rolling, both for my family and my career, guilt is pushing its way into my everyday.
Consider this, for just a wee small example:
Ed gets going on the shed project at dawn. A forecast of severe storms, along with the imminent (you never know) arrival of Amos, make him nervous. He is almost done with constructing the frame for the fill dirt. At sunrise, he gets to it. By noon, the first truck load of dirt is set to arrive.
I’m busy with my own chores, back in condo-land, which include a very pleasant stroll down to the Hilldale market. (Madison has a bunch of markets during the week – you just have to know where to find them.)
By noon, I can’t stand the guilt. Ed is being ravaged by mosquitoes, he’s been working on MY writer’s shed since 6, surely I should help. And I do.
So sprightly is our effort, that within an hour or two, we are ready for truckload of dirt number two.
Unfortunately, the truck with the second load gets stuck in Ed’s driveway. The load is heavy, the wheels sink into the chips and soil. It’s a no go. We try everything, including digging great basins around the tires, putting boards down, you name it. The tires spin deeper and deeper into the now completely damaged driveway.
The driver calls his company for help. Me? I leave to continue with my own chores. But without the light heart. I am consumed by guilt at so many levels, I can’t begin to spell them out.
One chore is to pick up a replacement plant for one that died (long and boring story). And as usual, I pick up an extra plant, because it’s just so pretty. But I load it into the car with guilt. Didn’t I just spend my salary on travel? And now a plant?
I guess there is value in beating up on yourself. It’s sort of like beating on a carpet to get the dust out. Besides, after you’re done with the guilt, you have such gorgeous flowers to enjoy on your condo balcony. That has to count for something.