The Savior, Part 3: La Culpa

continued from February 3 post, The Savior, Part 2: The Dream

FullSizeRenderI was lonely. The other JVs had colleagues, peers in their twenties. They had set schedules, students to inspire, classes to teach, papers to grade (yes, I envied their papers, the usefulness they must have felt at winding down the stack, much like I’d helped my mother do with the elementary school classes she taught). I felt like I could have been a good teacher. It was in my blood: mom, great-grandfather, brother. But instead I spent my workdays alone, sorting papers, organizing the office, researching the program I was now directing, scheduling appointments, prepping workshops, and occasionally cocking my ear toward a voice inside that wondered why a decade-old program for Belizeans should be run by a twenty-something American who’d be gone in less than two years.

Those weeks and months meeting with lay ministers and priests and sisters, reworking the program so that it didn’t need me but instead cultivated leadership from within, connected me to a deep sense of guilt that I wasn’t working hard enough. This wasn’t the first time I’d felt it, but for the previous two decades of my life, I’d been surrounded by family or slogging my way through school, neither of which left much time for deep reflection, much less boredom. I wasn’t my mom, who went back to school and earned her teaching degree after having four kids, driving one hour to class in Las Cruces or Silver City and another hour back after working a full day as a teacher’s aide. I wasn’t my dad who often left the house as the sun was rising to assemble circuit boards at an electronics plant.

Of everything I lost in the fire, I miss my journals the most. I wish I could hear that twenty-something Michelle, search her writings for roots of the guilt that still surfaces, even now. I used to wonder where it came from. I’ve studied it, sat in it, medicated it, collaged and written it, each time rubbing my fingers and finding its tiniest threads still attached to me.

I don’t want it anymore. Is it enough to say it? Does that send it on its way? This is work I know how to do, soul work, naming what no longer serves me, accepting its place in my life, and releasing. Naming, accepting, releasing. Naming. Accepting. Releasing.

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Published in: on March 10, 2015 at 7:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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