Q. What’s going on inside?
Q. Sorrow over what?
A. Past behavior of mine.
Q. Isn’t it past?
A. Evidently not.
Q. How so?
A. I wouldn’t be so cocky if I weren’t in such denial.
Q. What’s that supposed to mean?
A. I have been denying that my misfortunes down in California had a whole lot to do with me.
Q. But doesn’t stuff just happen that’s beyond your control?
A. Sure it does. People get deadly diseases. They get hit by cars. None of that is their own doing.
Q. But didn’t you have some kind of mental health breakdown in 2004?
A. I harp on that — and yes I did. But still, lots of stuff that happened, especially in terms of valued friends rejecting me, was entirely my doing.
Q. How so?
A. I found some emails I sent to some of my friends in 2015 when I was homeless. They were pretty vitriolic, downright hateful, accusational. I was accusing everybody of being uncompassionate. There were expletives involved. So it’s no wonder they all fled from me. Nobody wants to deal with that.
Q. But weren’t the circumstances that led to those angry emails really beyond your control?
A. The circumstances were. But a lot of us were experiencing those same circumstances. How many of us sent angry emails to our friends and family members?
Q. I don’t know – how many of you did?
A. I don’t know either. But they couldn’t have been as bad as the ones I sent.
Q. Why not?
A. Probably because I type about 120 wpm and so my emails were longer as well as angrier. My anger was more detailed.
Q. But you don’t send those kinds of emails to people now, do you?
A. I’m not homeless. I have no reason to.
Q. Can’t you just be thankful for that and move on?
A. Probably, eventually. This doesn’t seem like the kind of guilt that will destroy me.
Q. Is there any kind of guilt that doesn’t destroy people?
A. Yes, there is. There’s the kind of guilt you get when you realize that you’ve done something wrong. It makes you want to never do it again.
Q. So your sorrow is actually a good thing?
A. Yes it is. It brings me closer to my God, rather than further away. In the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, this is called “godly sorrow.” It’s the kind of sorrow that leads to a change of heart — and it is not to be regretted. But the other kind of sorrow, that contains the other kind of guilt, is called the “sorrow of this world.” It leads to despair, and ultimately, to death. It’s best I mourn the death of my former self, and proceed with the Self that’s New.
The Questioner is silent.
Please donate to Eden in Babylon.
A little bit goes a long, long way.