Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Conscience & Consequences

We all have things in our past we wish we could change. Anka wrote, and Sinatra sang “Regrets, I’ve got a few, but then again, too few to mention”. I guess they were either lucky or saints. I know I have lots of regrets - things I did or said, or things that I could have done or said but did not – and when the memories flash in my mind now, I cringe – generally things that no one else would even remember or care about - not important to anyone but me.
However, sometimes people do or say things that are important to others, and those memories can cause embarassment, regret, or severe guilt.
After the previous post, I was contacted with another story.
The gentleman involved in this instance owned and operated for many years an automotive supply business, dealing with service stations, garages, body shops, and anything related.
A customer had purchased a piece of equipment that for some reason malfunctioned or simply did not work properly. Perhaps he was having a very bad day, or the equipment malfunction caused a loss of income, or maybe he just had anger management issues. Whatever the cause, when he could not contact the owner who was away on business, he spoke to the owners wife, and during his rant at her, he stated that he “would like to kill” her husband! Did he mean it literally? Probably not. Still, those words could not be recalled.
This took place a very long time ago, and while the equipment issue was subsequently resolved, the words still hung in the air.
They have met on many occasions since that time, but it was only last week that the man approached the owner, now long retired, to express his “deep regret” at those hateful and frightening words.
There is an old adage that says “confession is good for the soul”. I guess you could turn that around and say that keeping guilt inside without attempting to make amends is soul sickening. Conscience is our personal moral compass. It may not prevent us from doing or saying something rash, but it can direct us to the appropriate way to get rid of that terrible feeling of guilt or shame.