Guilt is the hair shirt I put on almost daily.  A hair shirt is a coarse garment intended to be worn next to the skin, keeping the wearer in a state of discomfort and constant awareness of the shirt’s presence.  So, what do I feel guilty about, you ask?  Well, that changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour, but here’s some of the main ideas from recent days.

The most prevalent guilt I deal with lately is over 4 very  significant people in my life that have pretty much ‘blown up’ their lives.  At least for now, anyway.  Some of these folks I’ve known for a long time.  Some for only a couple of years.

Oh – something I don’t think I’ve shared before – I’m an ordained minister of a non-denominational church and have been for 9 years.  I have chosen not to have a church because I would rather work independently as the need arises.  I do weddings, funerals, and I counsel with people.  Notice I didn’t say I counsel people – I counsel WITH people.  They know what they need, they just need help finding what they already know.

Anyway, back to the guilt.  Each of us has to walk our own path.  We all have to fall to learn and get back up and move on.  Yet, I feel guilty.  Might I have saved someone from a fall or made it softer?  Could I have taught them one more thing that may have done the job without another fall?  Sigh…  I believe, however, that it all works the way it must to build that person into what he/she will become.  Still, I don the hair shirt over it now and then.

Then there’s the FAMILY guilt.  I’m going to just lay it out there, because they never read my stuff anyway.  I don’t like my mom nor my sister nor any of their ‘people’ that live a mere 3 hours away.  The last visit two weeks ago was abusive and hurt me badly.  I will not go back.  But, hair shirt BIG time.  I feel guilty because I still cannot make them like me after over 60 years of trying.  Yeah, this time I let it go, but I find myself feeling guilty for letting it go!!!!  Weird, huh?  My little family here loves me unconditionally, and when I put on that hair shirt, I let them help me take it off.

Let’s see.  There’s community guilt.  I see trash on the side of the road when I’m driving somewhere and think, “I should stop and pick that up.”  I  see statistics about youth that can’t pass reading tests and think about the tutoring I used to do.  I see the potholes on my county road and consider running for county commissioner.  Guilt everywhere!!!

My yard needs raking, the walls need painting, the budget needs doing – sheesh!  I don’t have enough hair shirts!!!

So, on to other irritants.  There are two things that really irritate me to no end.  The first one:  BIGOTS.  I grew up with them in Mississippi.  You probably know them as Rednecks, Good Old Boys, and such.  They are really good folks and loyal to the end.  Unless you are not white.  I never knew my biological dad, but I figure he was not a bigot because I was the only one I knew that WASN’T.  I liked everyone.  Hugged everyone.  Ate with everyone.  Drank after everyone.  I grew up during forced desegregation and busing.  I just did not get any of it.  One of my best friends was black, but we couldn’t spend the night with one another.  When I became an officer in the military, I finally divorced my first husband because his prejudice was so offensive to my fellow black officers.  Bigotry is a nasty, hateful, dangerous thing that destroys individuals, relationships, and nations.  It hurts my soul, and I will not tolerate it.

The second thing that irritates me is people who believe they are entitled.  All Americans believe they are entitled, especially in times of disaster.  They look to the government to bail them out when hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, or earthquakes occur.  And then complain about the taxes it takes to pay for all of it.  They live in the areas where these things are KNOWN to happen, and don’t buy the insurance either!  Then sob over ‘losing everything.’  Boo Hoo.  Well, Jo says stiff upper lip and start helping yourselves and your neighbors like our ancestors did.  Be better prepared to begin with.  Screw waiting for the government teat!!!

Speaking of the government teat.  I was behind an overweight woman at a discount food store yesterday.  She was rude and aggressive with the check-out lady, ensuring her that the WIC coupons were her daughter and granddaughter’s coupons.  The daughter and the baby couldn’t come out because the baby was sick, so she (the rude woman) was doing the shopping.  So this well-fed woman was spending government money and being rude to this hard-working lady to get food for a welfare baby.  Pissed me off that she felt so entitled and so ugly about it!  You know, she could have explained it nicely and it could have been so much more pleasant.  Frankly, I would have been embarrassed to have needed WIC.  Embarrassed that my daughter had gotten herself in this fix to begin with.  Now, these girls walk around bragging about their ‘baby daddy.’

Okay, that’s enough hair shirts and other irritants for today.  I think I’ll have some coffee, watch the birds outside my window, and play mahjohng.  Talk to you later, friends and family.

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