Part of raising children is teaching them to make a sincere apology. There are two parts to this lesson. The first is getting them to say it, the second is getting them to mean it. The first part is usually the easier of the two, because of simple immaturity. I remember many instances where my parents required me to make confession and express repentance for my offense towards my brother or sister. No doubt their hope was that I would grow towards a deep and personal desire to do all I could to make amends for my wrongs. I was far more deviant than they realized.
To this day I find apologizes, well... difficult.
(Aside: As a happily married woman who enjoys a close and loving relationship with my husband, I maintain a continual mental consciousness of his listening in to my every word, whether he is actually present or not. He is currently laughing his head off at my previous understatement.)
So I haven't yet arrived at a place where admissions come smoothly to my lips. (Now the kids are joining in on the chuckling. I cast them a glance meant to wither.)
Ok, I'm just plain bad at it. As I've matured, the two parts have flipped so that I find more often I have a desire to apologize, but the harder part is in saying it. I suppose holiness is experiencing both aspects fully and completely.
BUT it is my goal. Not because I enjoy it, clearly, but because I am called to it. Forgiveness is the fulcrum whereby guilt and blame can be lifted and flow downward to reparations and restitution.
The world works against our success in this area. Mistakes happen in life, and an apology goes a long way towards smoothing things over and getting us back on our way to where we mean to be, but eventually we all learn the game of jaded thinking that dominates the field out there. And we often learn to play it.
You would think that in the public arena of service the benefit of honest acknowledgments might be understood. However, I have noticed that more often than not, in public transactions a representative seems almost set against saying those two little words. Recently, our microwave door needed to be replaced. I won't go into the long drawn-out story, but the short end of it was that an entire month went by and the responsible party not only did not respond to any of our calls, but never even ordered the part. We eventually got our door, but we never heard a word of apology from them.
Flipping through my insurance police, I see that I am advised not to say it in the event of any altercation. Any expressions of regret or sorrow at a time of accident could be misused as an admission of guilt and responsibility. How awful that we must be so on our guard. I know this sounds Polly-Anna-ish of me, and far from my own personal side-steps away from honest appraisal. But it all rings so brassy. We live in a world not of integrity, but of chess. Always be looking, thinking, and acting two steps before the other guy.
Around the beginning of the year I read a wonderful book titled Margin. I'd really like to read this book at the beginning of every year from now on. There is so much wisdom to be gathered from it, I will need to revisit the ideas and suggestions here over and over again. One of the recommendations made was to seek to apologize twice a day. This blows my mind. I concede, this is up there in the farthest, thinnest, airy reaches of the stratosphere for me. It's difficult to even conceptualize what this would look like, nevermind feel like for me. BUT, ah, what a vision to contemplate.
My Savior embodies Forgiveness; inasmuch as I am His, let it begin with me between myself and my brother or sister. May my prayer be 'Twice a day and more'; and may my children find comfort and encouragement in knowing that their mama is still working on the difficult but important lessons I am teaching.
Shared with Titus 2sday, Works For Me Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday