Still feeling guilty, but why??

Drove past the home of a former church member at a former church the other day and it reminded me of the last time I saw “Jim.” This former church was having an anniversary celebration that we went to a number of years ago and when I saw Jim, I naturally asked him first how he was doing, then his wife, who was not there with him. I was looking for a hole to climb into and trying to find the right words to see when “Jim” looked me in the eyes, lowered his voice and his head and replied: “She died about a year ago.”
Not that there was any way for me to know other than to read the obits on a daily basis, but the recent drive past his house suddenly rekindled some other feelings of guilt that I’ve ever held onto for a number of years or that have just recently washed over me.
For instance, I’ve had some free time the past couple of months, so I’ve dug into the pile of baseball cards I’ve collected over the years and started sending the cards out to the players pictured on them with a short note thanking them for playing the game I love to watch and, subtly, including in the note that I would like an autograph.
A couple of the cards were returned with notes from either a spouse or a child informing me that said player had died within the past couple of years; if I had been more careful, which I now am, I would have read their on-line bio to learn that, yes, indeed, he was dead.
Now I’m feeling guilty not only about embarrassing myself, but also reminding the survivors of their loss.
Then there was the time when I was about 10 when I took my brother’s BB gun and shot a bird, but not just any bird, a robin, a protected “state bird” here in Michigan. I don’t know why I did it — picking off a sparrow could have been an option — but as soon as I did I was asking myself, “Why did you do that?” Fortunately for me, or maybe because of God’s graciousness, all I did was wing the little critter. I knocked him to the ground, but after a few seconds he got up and flew away.
Now I know we’ve all got guilt with which we must deal, but I’m wondering why some guilg feelings stick around for a while. I’ll get over writing letters to dead people, but for some reason, thoughts of offending “Jim” and shooting a robin keep popping up.
I’m just wondering: When will they go away?


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