No, this isn't a story about some tragic circumstance brought about because someone didn't listen to their conscience.
This is a story about a Christmas ornament.
Yesterday, I was putting ornaments on the tree. We have a fake tree, and it's smaller than the real trees we've had in years past, so this year I decided I was only going to put ornaments on that really mean something to me (I have A LOT of ornaments - probably enough for two or three trees of the size we have). So I was going through the boxes, pulling them out one by one, and thinking about where I got them, and what the story was behind them. There was the little girl swinging in the wreath, given to me by a very dear family friend. The WWU teddy bear, purchased at a bazaar shortly before I graduated. "Our First Christmas Together", given to us as a Christmas gift the year we got married. And then I came to the one I bought when I got my first apartment.
It was one of those delicate ball ornaments, covered in glitter, with the year (1996) on one side, and a Santa Claus on the other side. After graduating in December 2005, I finally moved out of my parents house in November 2006 and I wanted an ornament to commemorate my finally being a grownup. So I went out and shopped around and picked this one. It's been on my tree every year since.
Then I went back to the box and pulled out two from my former place of employment. We had pewter ornaments made for our donors each year, and the staff always got to take one too. I hung the first one up. Then I held the second one in my hand, thinking "do I really need two? This place isn't THAT important to me, and besides, I don't really like the design of this one." But, I was standing in front of the tree already so I decided to put it up. While trying to separate the loop so I could put it over a branch, I dropped it. Right onto the "my first apartment" ornament.
It knocked a big hole in the top of the ornament, and sent tiny shards of glass flying. I swore, threw away the rest of the ornament, got out the vacuum, and cleaned it up. DH came out to see what the fuss was about. I went to the garbage and picked it up by the hanger, which promptly broke off, and what was left of the globe went crashing to the floor, spraying shards of glass all over the kitchen. Guess if you're going to break it, break it right. Swearing wasn't enough by that point, I had to cry.
The moral of the story? I should have listened to my little voice. That glass ball had much more meaning to me than the second pewter ornament. Every year when I took it out of the box, I remembered how excited I was to be out on my own, finally an adult. And now every year when I take the other ornament out, I will remember that little lesson in listening, and doing what you say you're going to do.
It's a small, seemingly insignificant story. But an important reminder, nonetheless.