Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Guilt and Gratitude

I'm not Catholic, so the guilt I feel has not come from years of Catholic upbringing (or so I've been told). The guilt I feel comes from Katrina and her aftermath. The guilt I feel comes from other storms and other years and wars and terrorist attacks and aftermaths of all the above. I feel guilty because I'm so damn grateful.

I'm grateful that I didn't know anyone who perished on 9/11. I'm grateful that the people I know who went to war - World wars, Vietnam, Gulf Wars, Iraq - they all came back. I'm grateful that I don't live on a coast where I would worry about tsunamis and earthquakes and hurricanes. I'm grateful that the people I have lost have all died from natural causes - no one was murdered. They were all surrounded by loved ones when they went - not isolated and alone or homeless. I'm grateful that my children went to a school where they didn't have to have metal detectors or police escorts, and they still received a good education. I'm grateful that my family is all relatively healthy and for those of us who need it, there is medication available for our ills. I'm grateful that even though the fuel prices are going through the moon, there haven't been riots at the pumps or danger in the streets.

I feel guilty. I bitch and whine about mundane things that in the 'big picture' are meaningless. I guess I just want you to know that it does matter to me, these things in the world. I do care what happens in New Orleans, in Mississippi... I do care about those who are fighting the war and protecting our freedoms. I. Do. Care. Don't let the whiney, bitchy, petty woman behind the curtain lead you to think she doesn't care... We're in OZ and it's pretty damn sure she's a human being just trying to get along like the rest of you.

Let the people you love know it. Send your donations for relief. Give yourself permission to go on vacation, to watch a movie, to play with the kids or the critters. Feel guilty if you have to, but be grateful for what you have.