Did anyone ever promise us that life would be packaged up all nice and neat and folded into a Belk's Department Store bag? No.... it's more like those things that we take apart and can't get back together. Like taking a man's dress shirt out of the plastic with all those little pins in it - and then trying to put it back in when we find out that it doesn't fit. Or fitting Pringles potato chips back in the canister after pouring them out in a bowl. Once something's out of the bag, you just can't just seal it up and pretend you never opened it. I guess that's where the expression "opening a can of worms" comes from. And regretfully, we can never take back words and actions that we say or do in anger no matter how much we want to.
I remember once when I told my mom a bit of gossip about someone we both knew. I was in my twenties and knew better, but hey - it was just my mom. These are pretty much the exact words she used, because they have stayed with me all my life. "Now why did you think I needed to know that? Even if you know this to be 100% true, which you don't, what good could it possibly do to tell it and if it doesn't do any good to tell it, don't." I was rightfully reprimanded and have always been grateful for her words of wisdom. I lost mom in my thirties but her words are still stuck like glue just like she said them yesterday.
There are events in my life that I can look back on and be ashamed about what I said or how I treated someone - words of anger or just plain immaturity. And it's so weird how they just pop in my mind when I least expect them to. I'm pretty sure it's called "guilty conscience". The first one that I can remember was on Valentine's day when I was maybe nine years old - and this popped into my head today for some unearthly reason. There was a boy in our class that was very unkempt - always dirty, wore dirty clothes and I distinctly remember his dirty ears ( isn't it strange what you remember - so always keep your ears clean or I may remember it :) And at nine years old, it was common knowledge that all boys had cooties and if you had dirty ears, you had double cooties. We all handed out valentines at school that day and I'll never know why but this kid gave me a valentine card and gave no-one else in the class one. On the bus everyone was teasing me about it and I was mortified although I was pretty much mortified about teasing in general. To show my disdain, I tore up his valentine up and made a show of throwing it out the window. But I was totally unprepared for the look of hurt I saw in his eyes and how shabby, rotten I felt inside when I saw how I made him feel. And did I apologize - I'm ashamed to say, no I didn't. And has that look haunted me ever since? Yes, and it's probably kept my actions in check a number of time. I think this event in my life has helped shape how I've treated people ever since.
Do you have any such events in your life? Come on, 'fess up - I can't be the only one. Biting words that were meant to sting, a little gossip that was not meant to hurt anyone, bits of paper tossed out a bus window. But the good news is, we learn along the way and we ask forgiveness of the people we hurt - and if we're lucky, we're forgiven. It doesn't heal all the wounds, but it gives us a new beginning - and a fresh start - like folding that shirt up and putting it back in the bag.