“Repentant tears wash out the stain of guilt.”

Saint Augustine

We all have insignificant things that we enjoy on earth because they bring us a certain amount of happiness.  For me, one of those things is my love for fountain pens.  I love the way the nib glides on the paper; I love the ritual of filling the pen with the desired ink, and I love the weight of the pen in my hand.

One aspect of fountain pen ownership I’m not keen on is the cleaning of the pen.  I’m extremely lazy about the proper maintenance of my pens.  I don’t do a great of keeping up with a regular cleaning schedule for them, the way I’m told to do by pen experts.  Pens were made to be cleaned.  It’s a necessity in order to keep them functioning properly in the way they were created to function.

People were made to be clean.  Every counselor knows that when we don’t habitually have ourselves cleaned form the sin, guilt, and overall gunk of living in this world, we do one of three things:

  • We repress our guilt and try not to think about it.
  • We enact penance so that we do good deeds in an attempt to balance out our bad deeds, or
  • We change our entire moral base, labeling things good—or at least tolerable—that years ago we would have deemed immoral.

We do the same with our parent guilt.  When we feel guilty for the mistakes that we’ve made, the things that we’ve said, or the prophecy in our heads that we’ve eternally maimed our child for the future, the dysfunctional us, the one that just really wants to be cleaned, is prone to do one of the above things.  We block our faults from our minds, scared to look into the mirror of self-introspection. We spoil our children with treats that are not healthy for them to try to compensate for how we’ve neglected or damaged them.  We think of a million ways in which what we said or the way we responded was warranted.

All we really wanted was a good cleaning.  All we really need is to face the guilt head on, embrace the pain, and repent.  By seeking forgiveness of God and our children, we can make a complete turnaround.  We can drop the guilt and proceed in grace, peace, and joy.  We write so much better when we’re clean.