Guilt created a biological response in him. But it created an even more unusual response in one woman. William Wirt Winchester's widow built a bizarre mansion to assuage her guilt. It is a house built over a 38 year period at a cost of over five million dollars. The 160 room house has stairways that lead to blank walls, corridors that lead to unopenable doors, 13 bathrooms, 13 stair steps, 13 lights to a chandelier, 13 windows to a room.
Her husband was the son of the Winchester, heir of the manufacturer of the repeating rifle. Her house is referred to as the "guilt house," and was conceived as a never-ending building project to provide a home for the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. Instead of confronting her guilt and working through it in constructive ways, her project occupied the rest of her life.
Erma Bombeck has called guilt "the gift that keeps on giving." And it is, if it isn't laid to rest. It can keep on giving emotional, physical and spiritual problems for a lifetime. But you needn't carry it around forever or find a bizarre way to assuage it.
Do you have unresolved guilt? I'm not talking about the kind of guilt that may keep one from breaking the law or hurting innocent people. I mean unnecessary guilt. Over-anxiety and self-loathing about that which can no longer be changed.
And best of all, that one day can be today.
© 2001 Steve Goodier