There are some things I still feel guilty about after years and years.  Most of them are little things, like finding a pen or book I borrowed from a friend and never returned or remembering a fight I had with my parents.  One particular instance of long-term guilt is from 1997.  I was in the hospital for my migraines, and a clown with a puppet came into my room.  I was scared and alone, and I told him I didn’t want any entertainment from him.  I don’t remember what exactly I said, but I know I wasn’t as polite as I should have been.  Why do I remember this particular instance?  No clue.  All I can recall is the immediate horror after he left the room and my regret at refusing someone who just wanted to help.

The same applies for long-forgotten items I’ve accumulated over our moves and during all my brief stints of high school.  This past summer, I came across the VHS tape of the live action 101 Dalmations that I borrowed from a girl named Stacy at Midland Christian High School.  I truly meant to only borrow it, but I was unceremoniously and abruptly asked to leave the private school by the administration following a long illness.  I never saw Stacy after I packed up my locker and picked up correspondence courses, but I still feel pangs of guilt for keeping the tape.

An interesting thing I feel guilty for occurred during my first time living in Midland.  After a wind storm, my mom brought in a robin’s egg which had fallen out of the tree in our front yard.  Mom gave me the egg in one of our little brown bowls (which are still at my parents’ house to this day) and I went to my room with our dog, Max.  I remember sitting on my window ledge with Max nearby and I accidentally broke the beautiful shell.  I was no more than 4 years old.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I truly regret and feel sorry for the small things I’ve intentionally or unintentionally done at the time.  I think many of these are tied to me saying or doing things I wouldn’t normally do, like being rude to a clown or breaking an egg.  Hopefully, these feelings of guilt are still swirling within me to remind me how awful I felt at those times and to deter me from any worse behavior.  I hope everyone carries around these little nuggets of guilt, as they’ve helped me to be a person I like and respect.  These incidents also point out what I fear the most.  I’m scared of offending people, I’m scared of not returning things that are given to me, and I’m scared of physically (or emotionally) harming any living thing.  I think that’s pretty accurate.  In the future, I hope these kinds of offenses are restricted to these occurrences.

But just in case, I’ll keep these with me.  They’re the keys to how I want to live my life.