Karen was abandoned by her older brother when she was 14 after their dad died. Years later, he suddenly showed up on her doorstep, claiming he had an old box that belonged to her, given by their father.
When Karen was 14 years old, her father Gregory passed away from a terminal illness. She was then placed under the responsibility of her 22-year-old brother, George, who didn’t want the burden of raising his younger sibling.
With no other relatives willing to take her in, George decided to leave Karen at an orphanage while he lived on his own and worked at a local restaurant.
What other people didn’t know was that George had an ulterior motive for sending his little sister away, which he kept a secret for decades to come.
Thirty-eight years later, when Karen was 52 and George was 60, Karen was surprised to see a homeless man on her front porch. “Karen,” the man said. “Do you recognize me?”
Karen was surprised to see that it was George. “You left me at the orphanage 38 years ago. Because of you, my life completely changed. What are you doing here now?” she asked, feeling her cheeks turn hot from anger.
“I’m sorry, Karen. I’ve been so guilty that I could never get you out of my head. There’s not a day I haven’t thought about what I did, and I consider it the biggest mistake of my life. I’m here because I want to come clean and give you something that belongs to you,” George explained.
Karen refused to let her brother in and instead stood by her front door, arms across her chest, staring at him. George took it as a sign for him to continue explaining himself.
“You see, when I was younger, I was being selfish. I didn’t want to become a guardian at 22, while all my friends were enjoying their lives. I wanted the same for me. When I realized putting you in an orphanage was an option for me, I took that chance, thinking I could claim dad’s inheritance for myself.”
George shared that when their father realized he only had a few days to live, he had his lawyer prepare a box with valuables inside. He overheard them speaking in his bedroom and started thinking about what to do with it.
“I knew that if that box ended up in the lawyer’s hands, I’d have to share the inheritance with you. So, before he could get it, I stole it without them knowing. Father died later that day, and after I ran away to another town, I never saw the lawyer again,” George admitted.
Karen shook her head in disbelief. She couldn’t believe her brother could be so selfish, all for material possessions.
“I never found anything valuable inside that box. There were only letters from dad, which he wrote directly to you. There was also a photo of the three of us inside a frame. I’m sorry it took me so long to find you, Karen. I’m sorry for being selfish,” he pleaded.
“How did you even find me?” Karen asked without hiding her annoyance.
“One day, I saw your name in the newspaper. It said you led your students to compete at a competition. I saw you walking out of the school you worked in and followed you home. I wanted to grab that chance to talk to you, and now, I’m finally here,” George explained.
“I wish I could have helped you along the way, Karen. I’ve always dreamt of making it up to you by ensuring you had everything you could need in your life, but I ended up with so much debt and became homeless. I tried going back home to our house, but the government seized the property after I didn’t claim it all those years ago. I’m sorry, Karen. All I can give you is this box,” he said, handing it to Karen.
Karen took it and saw the old letters her father had written to her. She couldn’t help but cry, remembering their good times together. Although she was angry at her brother for depriving her of these precious mementos, and a life with her only family, she felt sorry for him and invited him inside to eat and take a shower.
While he was freshening up, Karen re-read the old letters her father had written to her in the past. In them, her father spoke about his business trips and gave clues to where he left presents for her in their house. Most of them, he hid in a hole inside the attic.
She stared at the photo that came with a frame, then decided to remove it from the frame to see if there was an inscription on the back. She was surprised to find the words: “If you search, you will find!”
It was the same quote he had written on each of his letters, which was Karen’s signal to search for a gift he’d hidden for her.
Karen realized that her father was telling her something and decided to determine whether or not her hunch was correct. She asked her husband to look after George for a while, and she darted out of their house to head to her childhood home.
When she got to the address of their old home, she was surprised to see that it was still abandoned and with its original structure still intact. Despite it having a “government property” sign, she decided to enter anyway to see whether or not the chest was still in the attic.
To her surprise, the attic looked untouched. There, she found a box left behind by her father, and she knew immediately that it was what he was pertaining to in his letter.
She decided to open it, and there, she found precious jewelry and several gold bars. Karen placed everything inside her bag and headed home.
After dinner, she called her brother to remain seated at the dining table. There, she said:
“I have every right to hate you, and even kick you out of my house. I shouldn’t be showing you this because I don’t know what your true intentions are for showing up at my doorstep, but look.”
Karen then emptied her bag, which shocked George. There were several pieces of gold and diamond jewelry and several gold bars. “This is what dad left us,” she told him.
“I know you probably came here because you knew I’d be the only one to figure out what he meant in those letters. So here, take them,” she said, handing him the gold bars.
“You and I will never be the same. You only value money, and I will always value family and character over everything. So take those gold bars and never return,” Karen told him.
George felt terrible that this was what his sister thought of him. However, he could not blame her, as this was how she had known him ever since, and it was all his fault.
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This time, George wanted to prove her wrong. He decided to sell the gold bars Karen gave him and used them to repair her house. He then donated all the other earnings to charity.
At first, Karen questioned his sincerity. However, when she saw that he had left nothing to himself, she decided to give him a second chance by selling a few pieces of jewelry to get his own place and start anew.
In the end, George got a job as a security guard in the school Karen worked in, and they lived close to one another. They rebuilt their relationship as brother and sister and decided to start fresh in honor of their late father.
What can we learn from this story?
Life is more than our material possessions. George was greedy when he decided to steal his father’s box, hoping it contained material possessions he could benefit from. In the end, his sister taught him that life is more than our wealth, and it’s the relationships we build that matter most.
It’s never too late to start over again. George never imagined ever meeting his sister again, but they ended up reconnecting. Instead of loathing her brother for what he did to her, she forgave him and even gave him a chance to start over again.
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