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Jeff's Afghan Diary: Guilt?
November 22 , 2006

      There’s no way I can get it all done.  Time is too short.
      I’m sure everyone has had that feeling before.  I do right now - there are bags to pack, paperwork to complete, getting the family ready to take over all the things I do, people to line up to help them if they can’t, simple things.  They aren’t ready, and so I’m not ready.
      Last article I mentioned regret.  Well, the companion to regret is guilt.  Guilt can be appropriate (like when you intentionally do harm) or inappropriate (when despite your best efforts, things go wrong, and you’re the one in charge, so it becomes your fault be default).  Well, I feel guilty about leaving my family as unprepared as they will be.
      This is inappropriate guilt, of course - I have tried my best to prepare my family for my leaving, but they have not had to change their lifestyles, because I have still been here.  And I have not been effective in creating the necessary change, so now I feel like I didn’t finish the job at hand.
      Many times, when things go unfinished, we make contingency plans.  I just talked to my wife about how she needs to write down questions about household things that may come up, so when we get a chance to communicate, I can answer her questions.  This is our contingency plan.  Unfinished business will have to be finished by someone else, with or without my help.
      To paraphrase Blanche Dubois (“A Streetcar Named Desire”), sometimes we have to rely on the help of strangers.  All we can do is all we can do.  And today, this is all the time I have to write, so I’ll have to close, so I can try as best I can to finish whatever I can before I go.

-- Jeff Courter

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.