I take on guilt for things I don’t do. 

I take it on and wear blame like a coat and carry it around. Because if I can carry it someone else doesn’t have to. 

I don’t like the way it feels. But I can carry it because I’m used to that feeling. 

Most of my guilt comes from all the ways I’ve already decided I don’t add up. All the inadequacies I carry and drag after me. All my faults and failures. 

Sometimes at night I will think about it and wonder about all the people I’ve wronged. Lives I changed by telling the truth even when that meant that someone else’s life path was irrevocably redirected. Lives I’ve changed through my own faults. Ways I have messed up. 

And believe me I have messed up. 

Even today, two of my kids were calling and pulling on me and I am so tired…and I was on the phone, and I was dealing with my own guilt of a situation that is not my own- but surely I felt I should take on…and I felt annoyed by them and swatted them away. And then immediately picked up my new coat of another layer of guilt. 

Because I should always love and be present and see them. 

I think some of it has to do with my Catholic Upbringing…I am still very much Catholic, and I am proud of it. But there is an element of guilt and mystique with this shame that many of us have chosen, in our own misunderstandings of martyrdom. We fear pleasure if it takes away from God. 

Don’t get me wrong we all have suffering. And feel guilty. But Catholics, especially Irish Catholics we are born with a layer of guilt under our skin…it’s a scientific fact that I just made up…right now. 

So I feel guilty. Even when I’m not. 

Even when I shouldn’t. 

Today I was told…very clearly, that I need to stop. I am taking ownership of things, and intent that goes against every element of who I am. 

But this is who I am too- person who takes on your layers.

And I can’t help but want to solve, fix, be, and love people enough that they can’t be harmed. That the world cannot touch them. 

But I’m not God. 

I’m not that powerful. 

And life is hard. 

Really hard. And not fair. 

And I can’t feel guilty for that. But I want to. 

I want to carry your coat, so you don’t have to. 

I once prayed I would be barren so my sister would stop having miscarriages…because I would rather carry my own cross than have anyone else carry that feeling of loss. 

Recently some of my own real mistakes affected my family, and it was hard. Because everything I do, I do with the intent to protect and love them more and better. But I don’t always get it right, and I’m still having to come to terms that I spent a good part of last year as someone I didn’t know. 

I didn’t know her, or recognize. And I didn’t like her. 

But she was there. And I have to stop feeling guilt for who I was. 

I have to put this coat down, and love and be here right now, and not let this slowly smother me. All this shame. 

I have to stop taking blame for things I can’t control. 

And I have to just take ownership. 

This is life. And it is hard. And it is good. And the layers will only make life heavier. 

So today, I gave my layers and guilt to God. I laid them in piles. And I took my hands off the window and am choosing to stop looking in at the imposter that I thought was taking over my life, and acknowledging her. 

Acknowledging me. 

She and I…we worked really hard at life last year. I didn’t get it right all the time, but i got through it. I can look at it now and see how incredibly resilient I was. I can be.

Taking the layers on is easy for me. I’m always cold and I know them. But they aren’t good for me. They only make my heart hurt and fill me with sadness. 

So today Jesus, I give you my guilt. My shame. My inadequacies.

And I embrace all the parts of me. The person I was, the person I became. And the person I am. Right now. 

Today Jesus…I embrace who you are calling me to be.