Written by Ruth Johnstone
My balcony door gives me a view of a vacant lot across from which is the parking lot of the Symth Medical Clinic.
It is Wednesday morning, some clouds and a few raindrops falling. A gentleman is wheeling a lady, presumably his wife, to the car. He gets her in the car and proceeds to fold up the wheelchair and place it in the trunk. He is struggling to get the chair to fit properly. He puts it in, takes it out several times. Do I have time to get over there and give him a hand, after all I’m a pro at folding walkers and wheelchairs and fitting them into the trunk of a car. A young man walks right by him and I am yelling from my chair; ‘help the man’. Of course, he doesn’t see him or hear me, he is looking at his phone for whatever reason. Eventually the gentleman is successful.
Out of nowhere there came, with tears, an overwhelming flood of emotions of grief and guilt. I look at my husband’s urn sitting on the shelf. It will soon be five years since his passing. Did I do enough, was I patient, understanding, caring? Did I handle my frustrations with grace? Did I expose anger and resentment? We lie in bed at night and think of all the things we could have done better and we quote,
Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely … think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
As parents we ask what we could have done better for our children. Where was I when she/he was calling out for help?
What a challenging year for pastors and Christian leaders. How do I best spend my time? How can I justify being at home?
Our loved ones have been imprisoned in Care homes and isolated in their own homes. There’s Richard and Iris, Lennie, Hilda, and the list goes on. I can do more.
Guilt is a natural response to all the good we do or do not do. It reminds us to do better next time. It is anger directed at ourselves. It can be challenging for us to come to an understanding of ourselves. The back-and-forth way that Paul speaks illustrates his struggle about some of his actions. He did things he did not want to do and did not do the things he should.
Guilt can be a reminder, at times, of our messing up but we must never let the tree of good and evil keep us exposed to our misgivings. We must be reminded of God’s amazing grace and unconditional love and move on. We aren’t finished becoming what God has ordained us to be.
Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13,14