Guilt has always been a powerful force in my life.
I believe the first emotion I can recall is guilt and then regret.
Guilty of going home with the potato chip man without approval
at age 3 or 4. I do not recall what happened when Mom and Dad
found out. It was never spoken of again. I do remember being
woke in the middle of the night at the home of the potato chip
delivery man and wife’s home and taken home by Dad. I got
the potato chip man in a bit of trouble. They thought I had
permission to go home with him. I didn’t. I never even asked
Mom or Dad if I could go.
Guilty of pulling the trigger on a 22 rifle as my brother’s friend
was talking to my older brother Jake and leaning on the barrel
of the rifle. They were shooting chicken hawks on the farm. I was
four years old and I walked up behind Billy and pulled the trigger.
Bang – the bullet went through his hand and lodged next to his
heart. Billy carries the bullet next to his heart to this day.
After pulling the trigger and the loud bang I ran around the house
to the backyard and climbed inside of a plastic gun turret
Dad had purchased as a small green house. Mom and Dad found
me as the sun was going down under the turret.
These may be the first memories of emotions I remember clearly.
The trauma involved imprinted them and made them forces in my life.
Guilt and Regret can be great motivators.
Originally written: November 5, 2000
Guilt can be motivational or it can be one that stops all forward
action if one lets it. I look back and I see it as a basic reason to
do good with my life. Oh yes, There have been other times that I feel
guilty and regret. Some greater and some lessor than these offenses.
Since this is not a confessional I will not dwell on those sins. I
will say that each has become a force for good.