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The Difference Between Hope & Guilt










Many things struck me while watching "Par Avion". I couldn't land on just one for this post so here is this week's list. There should be plenty to talk about!
  1. Claire's discovery of the truth about her father resonated with me. Don't we all discover rattling truths about our family of origin as time goes by? We've chatted this one up before.
  2. The introduction of the topic of the ethics of life support brought on by the conflict between Christian Shephard and Claire over coffee. We haven't hit on this yet but I'm sure we could talk this one to death!
  3. Claire's touching newfound appreciation of her mother which was brought on by her own pregnancy. The way tears of remorse represented a cleansing of Claire's guilt towards the end of the episode.
  4. Finally, Christian Shepherd's statement, "There is hope and there is guilt. Believe me, I know the difference." I love the way this statement encapsulates the fine line between hope and guilt that practically all of the survivors on the island are walking. Surely it is a line that all of us walk as well.

20 Comments:

Blogger kvonhard said...

Good grief, I could go on for pages! I will, however, limit my comments. :-) First - thank you Admin for the update. Hope all is well...

1) Things you never asked and never needed to know about your family. I could go on for hours, again, but won't. What I will say is that I never cease to be surprised/frustrated/shocked horribly to realize that my parents are adults with all the problems and issues thereunto appertaining. Over the last 8 years, I have learned things about my parents, their relationship with each other, and their relationships with their parents/inlaws that I do not think I ever needed or wanted to know. As I've gotten older, I find that my relationship has changed from one of child to one of equal. As such, they have shared with me problems that they have/had that mirror my own or that are things they need to talk through. I have become more of a confidant than a kid. This can, incidentally, be extremely insightful and extremely disconcerting all at the same time. It leads me to wonder whether "truth" is always, truly what we want or if really, ignorance is bliss. I somewhat think that Claire would have been happier living in ignorance of her origin.

2) Euthanasia - having seen many family members suffer as medical advances prolong their lives, I believe that while these advances are good, they also have created a moral dilemma heretofore undiscovered. In all honesty, I think that, personally, I would rather have quality to my life and the lives of those around me than technically live while being some form of mental/physical misery to myself and others. That being said, I have not personally had to make this decision. I would like to note that I hope that Admin's point that we could "talk about this to death" was an unintended pun. ;-) Which, my perverted sense of humor oddly enjoyed.

3) I'm not anywhere near qualified to answer this one. Although, it does seem to reinforce the idea that you should truly walk a mile in someone else's shoes before making decisions about them.

4) Hope and Guilt. I never thought about it as a fine line before. I think that given the juxtaposition of them, I always placed them in separate emotional boxes. I find, however, that this one and the first answer I gave comingle I often feel myself listening to my parents out of guilt then responding with the hope of fixing problems for them. In the end, I should just walk away. It's hard. It's hard to turn your back for any reason. It's even harder to turn your back when you realize that your reasons for seemingly noble actions are truly for ignoble reasons. Acting to create or give hope simply out of a sense of guilt, while creating the same result for others, can harm you more because you are losing a piece of yourself in the process.

Ok, longer than expected, shorter than it could have been...

3/15/2007 9:37 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Hi kvonhard!

kvonhard said...
It leads me to wonder whether "truth" is always, truly what we want or if really, ignorance is bliss.

I'm right smack dab in the middle of a huge dose of truth about my parents. They are actually in the middle of a divorce for reasons I can't discuss. Up until October, my sister & I could have never imagnined what is happening. While the truth has been a very hard pill to swallow (and that pill has given me quite an upset stomach), I would say that I always prefer truth to ignorance. I'd rather live an authentic life than an imaginary version that makes me more comfortable but also anemic when it comes to serving and understanding the plight of others. Difficult truths seem to serve as a means of connection to the world around us...they bring people together...they expose our need for each other...and our need for God.

kvondhard said...
I somewhat think that Claire would have been happier living in ignorance of her origin.

Maybe, but once she finds out Jack is her brother she'll probably think that's pretty cool. Wouldn't you want Jack as a big brother?

kvondhard said...
I would like to note that I hope that Admin's point that we could "talk about this to death" was an unintended pun. ;-) Which, my perverted sense of humor oddly enjoyed.

It was an "intended" pun. Hope nobody deems it inappropriate. I guess I have a perverted sense of humor too. :)

Okay...I want to pitch in on the Hope/Guilt idea but will have to wait till later...

3/15/2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger scoutpost said...

These questions are doosies- your right kvonhard- how can our responses be short?!
1)I don't think I've had any "rattling" truths come to light in my family since I've grown up (nothing like Claire's), but certain things have come to light- like conflicts that took place between extended family members, etc., but mainly how human my parents were. I guess all kids realize this more and more the older they get. And a lot of it comes when you have kids (just like Claire realizes). I haven't been exactly a confidant like you kvonhard with my parents, but my mom has shared some things with me about her relationship with my dad and I remember thinking I wish I didn't know these things. oh well.
2)Regarding life support- I think that this conjures up a lot of misconception about what life support is. Claire's mom had so much brain damage that her brain couldn't even send signals for her body to breathe or for her heart to beat. It was too early for them to say at that point, but she may have been brain dead. It would depend on how deep the coma. Even when Claire went back to see her mom when she ws pregnant, her mom was still on a ventilator. Personally, I would not want to be prolonged that way and would not let my family go on that way, and as a Christian, I don't have an ethical or moral problem with that-I do have a lot of sympathy for Claire and others who make the opposite choice. Although Claire was suffering from guilt, she was also very young and it is difficult enough for an adult to grasp and make those kinds of decisions, much less a teenager. It's not easy to let go, esp. when it happens traumatically. I used to be an ICU nurse and faced similar life support situations, but usually the patient was older and had suffered a stroke or was dying of COPD, heart failure, etc. Now when I say, misconceptions happen, a perfect example is the Terry Schiavo case in FL. Terry was breathing on her own, heart beating on her own, etc. She was being kept alive by her feeding tube and taking that away is a whole other bucket of worms.
3)This part of the episode was really touching I thought. I hope that Claire did get over her guilt. I still feel for the "little girl" in Claire who needs her mom for advice and help. I think this was a great illustration of how we need to watch what we say, because life is fleeting and we never know if we will get a second chance to apologize or say what we really feel.
4) hmmm. This one is really deep. I have always been one to feel guilty about a lot of things, but I think I am moving past this a little, because I am finally realizing that as one "flawed" person, I can only do so much. I think I have learned this a lot in the past couple of years dealing with the demands of autism- the amount of care my son needs, and how it has affected/the sacrifices the rest of the family has made because of it. There is a whole bunch of stuff I could feel guilty about, but I have decided not to because I have done the best I can and I have learned to forgive myself for a lot of stuff. I also realize that this is life, and life is not perfect, and we all grow from our experiences. I guess I just figure that people can either forgive me or they can hate me, but I've done all I can do. I think this has helped me to clear my conscience in a lot of areas of life.

3/15/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Admin & Scoutpost - really, I'd have way preferred to not know about my parents', er, interpersonal, umm, situation or lack thereof. I like to think I was an immaculate conception, but I have way too much information! :-) Ignorance on that one would be bliss. Total bliss.

Also, what happens for you all when you learn things about other family members and your parents' relationships with them? It tends to color your personal memories. Sometimes it even makes you angry over the fact that your perspective has been readjusted without your permission. How do you not be there for people who have always been there for you? It's hard. I think it goes back to the guilt discussion. You feel guilty if you're not supportive, but that puts you in a hard emotional spot. You can't just turn your back but not turning your back comes with its own set of problems. You feel guilty not being there for people, but being there for them causes you as many problems as it solves for others. It's this awful Catch-22. It just makes my mind reel.

3/16/2007 7:19 AM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

guys (and gals), could really use some friends right now. please email if you can buttmonkey73@yahoo.com. or call/text me at 201-669-0197.

thanks.

dan (chuck)

3/16/2007 5:18 PM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Dan,

So relieved to hear from you. I was thinking about you all week b/c I hadn't seen you pop up for awhile. I was going to email on Monday if we hadn't heard from you over the weekend.

I have houseguests right now so I can't call but will try to when they leave.

Can you give us a synopsis of the current situation?

3/17/2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

just needed to talk to someone. moved to jersey for me and lostnuts (dawn) to expand our relationship and after 3 weeks, i've gotten 1 kiss and a bunch of "i don't want to talk about relationship stuff", etc. so now i'm up here and seen her 3 times and feel like it'a all for nothing. so, anyway.......i have no friends or family up here.

i visited my two daughters a few weeks ago in florida, left there, came back to virginia and got within an hour of there and found out from a friend that my mom has been dead for 3 years. then i move up here and all this crap with dawn. and really, she started this about two months ago. she went from "i want to spend every day with you", to not wanting to even TALK!!! so all i have left, to be honest, is the "LOST" connection. you guys. sad, huh?

well, recently, i've tried to find out info on my mom. contacted a few people back home. one through myspace (female). she was friends with my mom. anyway, i told her the situation. me, dawn and asked about what's going on with my mom. i told her my two cell numbers and told her that one is a camera phone (thinking about the fact she talked about her kids and figured i'd send pix of mine). well, dawn still had my password and saw this, flipped out on me. 2 months of emotionless NOTHING and she flips over THAT! what the deuce?? so now, we still have only seen each other 3 times in 3 weeks (all basically were us watching tv in living room with her daughter and her mom). i received ONE kiss. no signs of appreciation for my move and sacrafice, etc. well, anyway.........so much for the "marriage made by the lost experience". ugh. just feel alone sometimes. 2 months of her and this crap. chose to move here for us (also her idea). even further from my daughters and now, my mom's dead and i have no friends or family. and it's hard to meet anyone when you work 6 days a week.

well, take it easy. and thanks for asking. i just need to feel like i'm not totally alone right now. weird, but true. thanks again.

----Dan

3/17/2007 10:01 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Dan,

You're not alone. I'll call you tomorrow. I'm off to bed now b/c I have to be up before the sun tomorrow for work.

David

3/17/2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

eh. it's okay. i have to work from 11 to 4 tomorrow. trying to stay busy. just had a depressed kinda day.

talk to you guys later.

3/18/2007 5:53 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Hey all! Finally dropping back in! What a topic and how appropo for my life right now. Of course I still haven't watched this particular episode.

Dan, I've been praying for your transition. Hope you get hooked up with people there. Did you get a hold of that number I gave you?

As for me, life has gotten busier since I started counseling. Tons of family stuff I was only half aware of has come to the surface. I talked before with Dark Angel about the dreams I had as a kid. They are connected to the hope/guilt thing although until this post I hadn't quite put that together. In some of my recurring dreams, I was being chased by something only to have everyone else destroyed and myself survive.

Today I feel survivor guilt that I got out of the situation I grew up in but have left others back in it and have had to separate myself (physically and emotionally) in order to achieve a healthier life. So my dreams were about the hope that I could escape but also the guilt if I did.

I bet my counseling right now is all about synthesizing that. It's time I realize what I was trying to run from, embrace my desire to escape as legitimate, and be freed from the guilt of having survived. I can sense God driving this whole process.

In fact he gave me some verses from the Bible to explain what he was doing. "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten [meaning the years myself and family members spent in pain and sorrow, the loss of my childhood]...you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. [meaning never again will I bear the shame of my family nor be ashamed of them]" (book of Joel chapter 2, parts of verses 25 and 26). It's amazing how the old stuff can still be relevant.

3/24/2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/25/2007 8:55 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Twinkle, those are the oldies but goodies! Like King Solomon said, nothing is new under the sun, and mankind will always have the same needs and problems. And, need the same solutions that only He can provide. :-)

I also get great hope and encouragement from verses such as that. I realized in mid-life that due to the strange way that I was brought up, I did not get all the normal advantages that most people seemed to receive in their "formative" years at home. So those verses mean a lot to me too. And Joyce Meyer says something like, "Just because you got a bad start, doesn't mean you can't have a great finish!" I try to keep that in mind at all times.

Chucklez, I hope that things are getting more settled and normal for you now with time. Hang in there, and give good and long consideration to making any life decisions in the future. Think things out very carefully.

3/25/2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Thanks, Capcom! And I've seen the episode now but not the most recent one.

Did I hear accurately the Russian guy said that with the submarine beacon gone they can't come back? Then that means they can leave, right? (I know the question is better for TLC, but I'm so far behind, it's easier to ask here. Thanks!) Maybe I should listen to the TLC podcasts!

3/26/2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

well, it's over. after all the 2 months of silence. "it's not gonna work".

lovely.

now that i've changed my entire life. got to be kidding. i'm the biggest idiot alive.

good bye all.

3/28/2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

well don't know if everyone knows......but still no answer from dawn as to WHY she did what she did. and she had the nerve to yell at me for asking. eh.

we had a skirmish and i'm done. she's moved on and updated her myspace to attract men now, etc.

so i guess i need to do something. but funny thing. on THIS side, there was never closure. so i'm here in jersey feeling like crap.

eh.....well, there's my depressing, slow rant.

good night.

4/09/2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

I feel for you, Chucklez! Sorry it's been a rotten few months. How are you settling in otherwise? Have you made any different plans?

I just got caught up on my Lost episodes! I noticed similar themes in the Nikki/Paulo one and the Kate-centric one. Both of them are about how the things we do come back to bite us in the...uh...ankle.

Nikki and Paulo were an example of live by the greed, die by the greed.

Kate's seeking personal vengeance instead of turning her step-father into the law bit her with her mother and with the Others, as evidenced by her conversation with Locke.

The saddest example to me is Sawyer. He was just starting to believe he might become something different. Hurley got him being nice to people. He actually made a difference and people looked to him as kind of leader. You could see the incredulity mixed with dawning hope that he was being "decent" when he held Claire's baby. Then he looks up and Sun is scowling at him and he remembers what he's done and "who he is." Have to say that was the most poignant moment for me from these most recent episodes. Hope crushed.

The Sun/Sawyer thing also shows how not forgiving hurts both the perpetrator of the original offense as well as the victim. I'm not being hard on Sun that she should have been able to forgive instantly or shouldn't be angry with Sawyer or Charlie. But whether or not her anger is justified, that scene shows clearly how they are both bound by it. Sun had such a sweet spirit and now it's being corrupted by her anger. Sawyer isn't free to grow but is bound by the things he's done.

Ugh! Fiction or not, this happens to too many real people.

4/10/2007 5:22 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

The Sawyer thing is also an example of how our expectations and the expectations of others shape us. Kate is struggling with the same thing. Maybe we all are.

When people expected more of Sawyer he started living up to that (albeit haltingly.) Now Sawyer's been reminded that indeed he is trash, the other leaders will come back, and he'll put himself back in the role of the bandit. I would so like to see him redeemed.

4/10/2007 5:25 AM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

twinkle: trying to get on, but something always either makes me miss her or get pissed.

ugh....

and stupid me, i say stuff in both cases. i'm really trying to let go.

know what's funny? she's shown NOTHING in way of "feeling bad" and is now "active" again (stopped during past 3 months) on myspace.

anyhoo......thinking about going back in the marines. i really don't care if i get blown the hell up right now.

but at least i have a REASON and direction in my life again.

and if i DO die, my daughters will get $400,000.

win-win.

eh........i don't think i've ever felt this pitiful....

make it stop......

4/10/2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Unfortunately that's something no one can do for another person. We all go through really low spots. There are ways to get out. What's your heart - not the part that's beating you up inside but your conscience or inner wisdom - tell you to do? I'll e-mail you off list?

4/11/2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger chucklez3 said...

oh my god!!!!

she has been with her "ex" from way back!!!

she told me they were never an item. they just went out, too.

you gotta be kidding me!!

i called her on it like back in November when she coincidentally bumped into him one night.

ain't that a bitch?

yay me. i want to die.

4/11/2007 7:53 PM  

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