Recently I recalled, out of thin air, a young lady I met while I was in college. That was 38 years ago. I had never dated anyone at the time. Her dad introduced us. She was a beautiful sweet girl and I got to spend a couple hours chatting with her at a party. Then a couple weeks later, I saw her with her family but did not speak to her. I guess I felt a little nervous or something. I am not too sure why I didn't speak to her at that time.
Now 38 years later, through the magic of open internet records, I have learned she has been married and divorced three times (once with an order of protection from her husband), has been foreclosed on, and filed for bankruptcy a number of years ago. I was heartbroken for her, and felt like it was all my fault. I felt if I had just spoken to her back then she would not have run off and made those bad decisions in her life. I just knew I would not have treated her the way at least two of her husbands treated her. It is hard to know. People are usually going to do what they are going to do, no matter what wise counsel they get.
But I kept harboring those guilty feelings. Well, I finally figured out that while I was not responsible for her bad decisions, or the bad treatment she received from her husbands. I SHOULD have felt bad about not speaking to her. She was (is) a sweet young lady and I would have been lucky to have her in my life. My behavior WAS just plain rude. Perhaps this was not the most prudent approach, but I found that young lady, now a grandmother, on Facebook, and sent her an apology for my rudeness, 38 years in arears. I wish I had done that the day after I last saw her. I wouldn't have wasted about 15 years looking for my current (first) wife. I never got a response, which is fine, but at least I have done what I felt I was convicted to do. I have prayed about this many times since then, asking God to bless her and her family. That's all I can do at this point, as I have a wife and family of my own to concern myself with. So that's how I addressed my guilty feelings.