Marjorie Young

The Psychic View – Guilt Traps

By Marjorie Young

The news was grim, as is so often the case these days. A suicide bomber had attacked a sold-out Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. As a pop star with a huge following among teens and tweens, it was inevitable there would be very young victims among those injured or killed.

The aftermath of such events are manifold of course. But one certainty is that devastating and unrestrained guilt is bound to emerge. The bitter irony is that it will not be visited upon those responsible for the outrage, but rather the innocent who have no hand in what occurred. Certainly Ariana Grande will know a crushing sense of responsibility, thinking ‘my fans wouldn’t have been in harm’s way if they hadn’t come to see me.’ Indeed, the rest of her European tour has been suspended. And without question, parents are now agonizing over permitting their kids to attend the ill-fated concert. One distrait mother, whose fifteen-year-old daughter was among the missing, vowed that if she comes home, she’ll never, ever let her out of her sight again.

Anyone with an ounce of compassion will readily comprehend these emotions. The torment of loss will be overwhelming enough; misplaced guilt should not be added to their woes. Let us beware of assuming a ‘god complex’…as if we controlled the world, and that ‘if only’ we acted differently, calamity could be cancelled. The mom who sends her child off to school, only to have her injured in a school bus accident, will lament that she didn’t keep her home that day. My neighbor manages the career of an aging classical violinist. Whenever he begins a tour, she agonizes that she’s created too busy a schedule or that the weather won’t be favorable, or that the public won’t appreciate his music sufficiently. She’ll wrestle with ceaseless guilty doubts before, during, and after the concerts when instead, she should make the best arrangements she can, then hope for the best. But the recurring illusion that we have dominion over things beyond us is one not easily erased.

I’ve just been to New York for the high school graduation of my great-nephew Sam. He’s a very special person in my life as well as the inspiration for my fantasy-adventure series ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ Before beginning college, Sam and his best friend will backpack through Europe. Both have traveled extensively with their families, but this will be their first outing on their own. Presumably, they’ll return safe, sunburnt, and with memories to last a lifetime. But should hardship cross their path, I cannot imagine thinking they should not have been allowed to go. They will face life, learning, and independence. Fledgling birds are meant to fly from the nest and soar. We cannot guarantee their safety, though we use every talisman…including frequent and perhaps unwanted advice…before seeing them off.

Sooner or later, we should acknowledge that destiny is not a puppet on a string that is ours to manipulate. Instead, we are vulnerable to forces over which we wield no authority. No matter how focused or disciplined we might be, we are casting our fate…and our loved ones’ fate…to the wind each and every day. Therefore, ‘security’ is both an objective and an illusion. However, we can still envision structure in a chaotic world while doing our best to make it a better place. And in the end love will prove more fruitful than anger and acquired wisdom more valuable than futile guilt. And to all those setting out on their journey, let us hope the road will rise up to meet them and the wind will be at their back.

Marjorie is available for readings at the Ballard Sunday Market (weather permitting), her Ballard home, or by phone.

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