Soul Searching

(Our President asked for a little soul-searching. Here I go …)

I know with absolute certainty that I live a powerfully privileged life – largely in part because I was born white, straight, and to middle-class, educated parents in America. My privileged reality is that I’ve never had to choose if I’m going to pay for medicine or food.  I’ve never had to teach my son to fear an armed police man. I’ve never feared being shot by the people sworn to protect me. I’ve never considered that my daughters won’t be educated. I’ve never had to hide who I love or been made to feel broken or less because of how I was born. This is privilege. I did nothing to earn it.

And sometimes, in a moment of awareness, I’m swept away with conflicting emotions. I feel heartbroken about the way our world is … I feel guilty that I was born into a position of privilege … I feel lucky.

Lucky.

What a shameful way to feel about the hardships of people I care for deeply.

So I sit and stew in my guilt and shame until my mind finds a way to reason it away.  I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not even remotely racist or homophobic. It’s ridiculous to feel guilty about how the world works.

But is it?

I don’t know if I do or don’t deserve to feel guilt. But maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe it just matters that I do feel guilty. Sometimes, good or bad, we just need to feel. And perhaps those are the moments when God speaks through our emotions. My guilt makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel like something isn’t right, like something is very, very wrong.

And it is, right?

All I know is that, for those of us feeling guilt and working so hard to feel differently,  it’s time to look inside the guilt. We spend so much time preparing our children for this broken world. Maybe it’s time to spend some energy fixing their world. 

Comments

  1. Feeling what you call guilt may actually be compassion that doesn’t quite know how to manifest. These emotions, empathy, compassion, and, yes, guilt, are what make you the caring person you are. And they motivate you to make things better for others. So don’t try too hard to fight it. It makes you a better person.

  2. You know, it’s one thing to be born into privilege – it’s another to acknowledge this reality and still utilize your talents to make the world a better place than it was when you first entered, even if it’s something as simple as teaching your children good manners. To ignore the fact that all of us are faced with different obstacles, no matter how “lucky” or “unlucky” we are, and to abuse our station in life by not using our unique, God-given talents and gifts? That is a great sin, in my opinion.

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