Earlier today, I attended our men’s bible study program at Holy Spirit called That Man Is You. While discussing the topic of the week during our small table session, one participant proclaimed the following …
“Guilt is good!”
He mentioned that when he is falling short of expectations in everyday life, he feels guilty. Thus, he uses guilt to re-focus and start doing what is right for his family and himself.
Life Without Guilt
When I first heard him say he uses guilt as a motivation, I was skeptical. However, a few hours have passed since the meeting, and there is something profound in this message.
What if I had no feeling of guilt whatsoever? What if I only cared about myself?
I officiated men’s collegiate basketball for 25 years. This nomadic lifestyle took me away from my family for nearly 9 years. One week of referee travel might include Monday in San Diego, Tuesday in Honolulu, Wednesday in Denver, Thursday in Birmingham, and Saturday in Lubbock.
The next week would include different cities which were all still far from home.
I remember calling my wife while on an extended trip, and she voiced her frustration. I reminded her how officiating paid our bills.
This was how I generated a good portion of the income required to manage our expenses.
Most of the time, my wife acquiesced, and I continued the rigorous life on the road.
At some point around 2014, I realized the negative impact my officiating lifestyle had on our marriage and family. By this time, I had missed plenty of important events, including birthday parties.
One referee shared with me that he skipped his son’s college graduation due to a playoff assignment. He said his son understood the importance of receiving this end-of-year game.
What! That is nonsense!
Once this scenario registered, and it did not take long, I felt guilty for all the missed family events. I decided my officiating days were over. I never wanted to be in a position where I had to decide between an officiating assignment or a family event.
After 25 years of blowing the whistle, it was time to hang it up. I was fortunate to still have a wonderful family and supportive wife.
Apply the Breaks
For some people, putting a stop to wrong behavior and actions comes too late. We’ve all heard, and perhaps experienced, the stories about broken marriages and financial ruin.
In my experience, there were many red flags indicating that my line of thought and actions were unhealthy. I could sense the danger, but I ignored it. I was thinking too much about how I felt, and little about how loved ones were affected.
After our Bible study meeting this morning, I decided to attend the 8 a.m. Mass. During mass, I found myself praying for the blessings the Lord has given me.
I prayed for my wife, my family, my friends, and many others.
Given what I know now, it’s obvious that others were doing the same for me.
Sometimes guilty feelings are really an answered prayer.