Today, I received an electronic apology. I was very surprised. This is the second such apology I’ve received in the last month. Both apologies were from childhood classmates who have read my memoir and recognized themselves in it. They recognized that they had hurt me in some way, and they felt remorse about their long-ago actions, so they wrote to express their sorrow and to ask my forgiveness.
Both apologies made me acutely uncomfortable for several reasons. First, I am so sorry that my honest accounting of ancient events has been upsetting to anyone. That was not my intent and it never occurred to me that this would be a possible outcome. Secondly, I don’t hold anyone accountable for their actions as children or adolescents. I forgave these people a long, long time ago and consider them both my friends. I can’t even fathom staying angry at someone for decades, especially for behavior that was no worse than some of the things I also did as a kid! Thirdly, since I consider both of these people to be my friends, I don’t want their remorse over childish behavior to create a distance between us.
On the other hand, the fact that both of these people felt the need to apologize just confirms what I already knew–that they have both grown up to be very admirable and kind people who are dismayed to realize that they may have caused me distress when we were in school all those many years ago. I just don’t want them to be distressed about it now, because I truly let it go a long time ago, and I hope I’ve been able to communicate that to them.
I do understand that sometimes, you don’t realize that you may have hurt or offended someone, and when you do realize it, you must go to them and ask their forgiveness–even if it’s years or decades later. I understand why these two people felt the need to do this, and I have done it myself. Two instances come to mind, and in both cases the other person never responded at all. That was hard. I really wanted to know that I was forgiven, and I did not receive that assurance. So I’ve tried hard to make sure that both of the people who apologized to me understand that I love them and don’t hold anything against them.
Other stuff did happen today, of course. Jasper and I had a mother/son date after he got his schoolwork done. We went up to Books-a-Million for a smoothie and did some browsing and then went in search of a new coffee maker. I recently bought a coffee maker to replace our old one, and it was so pretty and shiny but guess what? I think it lasted less than a week! That’s what I get for trying to save money. I hate to spend money on coffee-related stuff because I don’t drink it myself.
Because I love my kids, though, and because some of them think coffee is a pretty big deal, I got a new coffee maker today. Now all we need is some coffee so we can try it out!
I would appreciate your prayers tomorrow as I have another long day of driving in the heat to look forward to.
Quote of the day:
When Jasper and I were out driving this afternoon, we found ourselves stopped at a stoplight. Right next to us was an asphalt parking lot that seemed to be visibly radiating heat. I felt depressed just looking at it. Jasper beamed at me. “Look, Mummy!” he said. “There’s an oak tree growing there!”
Yes, there was. A determined little oak sapling had grown up through a miniscule hole in the asphalt and reached some 12 inches in height. This incident caused me to think some thoughts. I saw the flat black surface of the parking lot. My son saw the determined little sapling and it made his heart glad. We were both looking at the same scene, but we “saw” different things.
And that little sapling–how long will it be allowed to keep growing in a parking lot? Not much longer, I daresay–yet it will keep doing what it was designed to do until someone stops it. Sometimes I think I am too easily discouraged.