Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Color of Remorse

The bricks on our two-story Georgian style home were painted white, and so were the windows and the heavy cast iron table and chairs on the small front porch. Drifts of knee-deep snow covered the entire block. Every front yard, every tree limb, every hedge, every porch railing was hidden under domes of white.

The only color showing was the black of the lampposts, standing sentry beside the blacktopped street. Oh, and the shutters on our four bedroom house were black, as was the front door, and the hanging mailbox beside the black side door, and the bell that hung above the mailbox.

Everything was black or white except the icy cement sidewalks that crisscrossed the ground,with heaps of piled snow at their sides.

I stood on the stoop of the family entrance, looking up at a row of icicles, some the size of a small child's arm. Except for my face, my entire little-girl-self was bundled, from my knitted hat and scarf and mittens to my zippered black boots.

It was almost dark as I hopped off the steps and headed down our shoveled driveway. I'd been sent on a mission two doors down to borrow an item needed for supper. Our aproned neighbor was expecting me and she smiled warmly as she handed me a bottle she'd fetched from her pantry. Holding it firmly by the neck I trudged back down the sidewalk and up our curved drive.

Why I decided to toss that glass bottle of Heinz ketchup up in the air to try to catch it, remains a mystery. But the result of my playful, unwise decision ended up spattering the white landscape, the sidewalk, the driveway, and the heaps of snow with bright, guilty red. The only witnesses were the icicles and the dog watching from our picture window.

This error had no cover; no explanation or lie would have satisfied. I had to come clean and admit the truth.

My hungry family laughed and the neighbor had another bottle, which was carried with the greatest of care the second time on that cold night.

And the hamburgers were good.

Memoir Notes:
(and why I think it is in my memory all these years later)
I think this might have been the first time I remember feeling remorse for something that could not be undone. Yes, it was instant, messy remorse. I know the feeling well. Remorse is that healthy, God-given reaction to wrong-doing that leads us to change our ways. It is one of the many blessings that is not pleasant. Remorse, like ketchup-spattered snow, is evidence that change needs to occur. It is one of the invisible layers underneath our visible cover, that sends us running to our Savior, the author of second chances.

This is my third year in a row to join the challenge of writing for 31 days on a topic.

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  1. Okay! you had me laughing... along with your family.
    But the truth is... you had remorse and came clean. That is a lovely story--
    The hamburgers were good.
    God's Grace-- so wonderful!

  2. Becky, this is wonderful! I love the way you write and this is so.... well I can see it so clearly! It makes such a powerful point etched in my mind like ketchup on snow. I'm so glad you're writing again. It's delicious (as was the previous post)

  3. Great job Mom. Im proud of you. I'm excited for this month of stories... hopfully more than a month.

  4. Totally enjoy reading your stories. Well written.

    1. Thank you, Sherry. It is good to have people walking along with me.


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My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

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Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

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