Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Guilt Factor

We all have guilt over something in our lives. Bad decisions concerning children, spouses, money, jobs parents. That is part of our lives. There is a big difference between guilt and remorse or guilt and bitterness.

Below I have listed the meanings of the above words to give you a better perspective.

Guilt - 1. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense.
2. Law Culpability for a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a legal penalty.
3.a. Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong.
b. Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.
4. Guilty conduct; sin.

Remorse - 1. Moral anguish arising from repentance for past misdeeds; bitter regret.
2. Obsolete Compassion.

Bitterness - 1. Having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant.
2. Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh.
3. Difficult or distasteful to accept, admit, or bear.
4. Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity: a bitter struggle; bitter foes.
5. Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment.
6. Marked by resentment or cynicism.

As you can see, the definitions of these words are very clear on the emotional feelings we associate with these words. They are all very tough emotions to come to grips with and we don't always accomplish this goal.

I am thinking of my grandmother's roommate as I write this. I feel very sorry for her. Looking at the way her family treats her is the reason most people are so afraid to go into a nursing home. I do not condemn people that cannot visit their loved ones for whatever reason. I know that my family isn't the only one to put the "D" in dysfunction. But her situation is a little different.

When she came to live with my grandmother, she was very mobile. She was walking, talking, plundering, all the "normal" things I have witnessed in my own grandmother. Within six months, she was no longer walking, she barely speaks, and her body has started to become rigid. This is common in Alzheimer's. Personally, I have never seen the symptoms occur so quickly.

Occasionally, she will still speak but not very often. She has one child, a daughter. This is where my anger ignites. She comes on a very regular basis to visit.....another lady not her mom. In the 7 or 8 months I have seen the daughter 2 times.

I understand that there are issues there that I am not aware of. I understand how hard it may be for her to see her mother in this condition. I know what it is like to not be able to carry on a conversation with someone you love deeply. But I don't understand making this drive 2-3 times a week and not even stopping in to see if your mother's gown is clean or if she has eaten yet or whatever.

This is the reason that I stress clear the air while you can. Discuss the issues, seek forgiveness, explanations, whatever it is you need from your loved one. There will come a time when you can no longer do this and then you will have to live with all this baggage. Anger, guilt, bitterness, remorse. This is not who any of us want to be.

Yes, it will be hard. Yes it will be tearful and possibly explosive. But with understanding comes reconciliation. Make sure it really matters before you bring the issue up. This is not the time to bring up every single thing you feel you were wronged over. This is a time to make sure that you and your loved one have forgiven one another and can mend fences and grow closer to each other.

I know this post is long and for that I do apologize. This si an issue that is very close to my heart and I truly don't want anyone to have to live their lives with one more "what if".

Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


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