Oh, for goodness sake…

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It was the summer before 6th grade and the first time my mom had ever left me home on my own. I could see the independence of adulthood looming before me, all I had to do was follow the rules:

  • Rule #1: Don’t call any friends.
  • Rule #2: Don’t have any friends over.
  • Rule #3: Don’t leave the house.

Of course, being the responsible 11-year-old I was, the minute my mom left the house I called my best friend and invited her over so we could walk to the corner grocery store. There was only one problem in my way: my younger sister. She had also heard the rules and was slightly more reluctant to break them.

When my powers of persuasion failed, I finally ended up forcing my sister to come with us; cause I was in charge. We grabbed handfuls of change from the bucket on my dad’s dresser (yet another taboo) and headed out the door (which I had to leave unlocked, because I didn’t have a key).

Now growing up I lived on a fairly busy street. There were two lanes of traffic going in each direction with a turn lane running down the middle. Dodging the constant flow of cars, the three of us ran from the safety of the sidewalk and paused in the turn lane. That’s when my sister began to panic. She didn’t want to continue crossing the street, she wanted to go back home. The promises of candy and toys ahead were no competition for the terror she felt on finding herself surrounded by cars going 40 miles an hour.

Determined to see my plan through to completion I clasped her hand in mine and pulled

her across the remaining two lanes of traffic. By this time she was sobbing and I was doing everything I could to calm her down. Within minutes we were at the Piggly Wiggly and the sight of the goodies filling my plastic basket began to take its effect.

We paid for our items (with about 10 dollars worth of nickels, dimes and quarters) and headed back home. My sister had perked due to the treats she was carrying and the knowledge that we would soon be safely back home, making our return trip across Portland Avenue uneventful. Deciding it was best for my friend to leave so we wouldn’t get caught, I made plans to meet up with her later. Then my sister and I gorged ourselves on chocolates and gummy candies, played with our dollar aisle toys and quickly stashed the evidence under the bed when we heard our mom opening the front door.

After receiving praise for how well we had behaved and got along, I headed off to my friend’s house without a shred of guilt to darken my outlook. My sister, on the other hand, was not feeling so lighthearted. Her sensitive heart was feeling conflicted between the pleasure she’d gotten out of her sin and the weight she felt in having disobeyed and lied to our mom.

Noticing her subdued behavior, my mom asked her what was wrong and it all spilled out. In an effusion of tears my sister confessed all that had happened and showed her the empty wrappers under our bunk bed. Minutes later I received a  call at my friend’s house telling me I needed to go home. Fearing the worse, I quickly walked home, contemplating the punishment ahead of me and furious that my sister hadn’t kept our secret. As I walked through the gate to our backyard I came face to face with my accuser.

Having relieved her conscious through confession, you’d think my sister would have been in a better mood. Instead, she rushed up to me, pale and teary, begging me not to be angry with her for telling. Brushing her aside I walked in to the house and faced the consequences. My mom was disappointed, angry and hurt. The worst of it, for her, was that I had forced my sister to accompany me across a dangerous street when she was so young. Needless to say, it was quite a while before I was able to stay home alone again.

“Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your loving-kindness remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord.” Psalm 25:7

Today I’m thankful that the follies of my youth (whether mighty or small) are not held against me. This is not due to any improvements I’ve since made in myself, but solely through the loving-kindness and goodness of God.

What things are you thankful for today? How has God’s goodness made an impact in your life?

** This post is part of the One Word At A Time Blog Carnival on Goodness…check out more (or add your own) here @ Bridget Chumbley’s blog.
** This post is linked up @ Tuesdays Unwrapped @ Chatting at the Sky. Emily provides an opportunity for people to unwrap the ordinary of life to find the extraordinary.

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33 Comments

  1. Glynn says:

    Great story, and we have all been there.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Glynn! Glad you stopped by. :)

  2. joyce says:

    Great story…as I was reading I was thinking I’m the sister : ) My sister and I are just a year apart and she had no qualms about keeping secrets. If you looked at me wrong everything would spill out.

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! It’s funny how birth order can effect how we view things. My husband is the youngest and it’s created an interesting dynamic in our marriage. :)

  3. Southern Gal says:

    Lessons learned in youth. They stay with us throughout our lifetimes. This brought back memories for me. So glad God is a forgiving and forgetting God!

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen! I would we be lost without that!

  4. Melissa says:

    great, great story. i was the younger sister, and can identify with every ounce of your sister. so true, that his mercies are new every day…i too, am so thankful for that!

  5. S. Etole says:

    surely goodness and mercy will follow all the days of our life … fortunately for both

    1. Melissa says:

      What a great verse! Thanks for sharing. :) I love that one.

  6. Amy says:

    I have memories like this that I will never forget. Things I can laugh about now…although I was usually the little sister getting drug along. :-) Thanks for sharing this story.

    1. Melissa says:

      Another little sister. :) I was always the oldest (sibling, cousin, whatever) so I have no idea what it’s like. I do look back on some of the things I did to my brother and sister and cringe though. At least we all get along now.

  7. Bridget says:

    I am the older sister and remember trying to bribe my siblings into keeping silent. It usually never ended well!

    Great story… thanks for sharing!

    1. Melissa says:

      Finally! I’m not alone. Those times never turned out well, huh? Probably for the best, though.

  8. Dana says:

    Oh the things we put our siblings through! :) Great story!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Dana! Being a parent has really made me look at these memories in a different way. Last night after I wrote this I told Josh I would be so mad if Eli ever did this. Haha!

  9. nic says:

    yeah, i’m kind of the sister too (and i offer a universal apology for all younger siblings who cannot bear an ounce of guilt). it’s a wonder my older brother ever brought me along on anything…you’d think he’d have learned that i will always confess in the end.

    but i especially love the ending, for i, too, am mightily indebted to the One whose grace covers the follies of my youth (and adulthood).

    1. Melissa says:

      That’s just it, huh? Because I haven’t stopped doing those foolish things, despite the fact that I’m almost 30 instead of 11.

  10. Louise says:

    So I gotta admit – how I wish I’d dared to be so disobedient! I admired your grit and your determination.

    And I loved the story.

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! Thanks, I think. :) I definitely learned my lesson and ended up being a fairly trouble-free teenager. But now my husband has to deal with all my belated rebellion. Haha! Thanks for the comment.

  11. I wish I could forget some of the sins of my youth. I guess I’m supposed to remember so I can recall His goodness in protecting me!

    1. Melissa says:

      There are definitely some mistakes I made that I would love to erase from my (and others’) memory. I like your take on it though, because how else will we recognize the extent He’s saved us if we don’t take seriously the place we started? Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Kim says:

    amazing post! Thank you! and, I can’t even remember how I found your blog, but how funny you used to work for starbucks :) I find the flavor notes and pairing fascinating! Never had a clue about any of it :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Well I’m glad you did!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Oh, no! I was the older sister tricking my younger brother into things. I finally realized that he would sing like a canary at the first opportunity, so I continued my antics solo…I’m sure my mother threw up her hands with a “for goodness sake!” many times, lol. Thanks for the post!

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! That’s great! :)

  14. Kevin M. says:

    “Today I’m thankful that the follies of my youth (whether mighty or small) are not held against me. This is not due to any improvements I’ve since made in myself, but solely through the loving-kindness and goodness of God.”

    Yep, I am right there with you! Praise God for His incredible goodness!

    1. Melissa says:

      Ah, thanks Kevin! It’s always nice to know when something I write resonates with others. :)

  15. Janelle says:

    Ha! I remember this like it was yesterday. I have so few memories of you misbehaving that they tend to stick :)

    Mom pointed out how funny it is that i ended up being more trouble later on, and obviously lost my qualms about lying for a few years there.

  16. You are a great story-teller Melissa. I really enjoyed reading your post. Being the annoying little sister in my family, my two older brothers certainly didn’t always set a good example on what the word “goodness” truly meant. Thanks for sharing; nice meeting you :).

    1. Melissa says:

      It’s funny to me how many people commented saying they were the little sister. :) Thanks for the encouragement. I’m glad you stopped by.

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