Apology. Grace.

A person from my past, with whom I’m have not kept in touch, sent me an email today, apologizing for being mean to me when we were in our teens.  It was an act of generosity and integrity.  I urge us all to do the same.  This is the sort of pass-it-on behavior that can change the world.  Think back to someone you were mean to.  In the sandbox.  At camp.  In the classroom.  At a birthday party.  At a fraternity party.  At a PTA meeting.  At work…  Get to the bottom of it in your heart.  Did they scare you?  Did you feel wronged by them?  Threatened?  Did you see something in them that you loathed about yourself?  Did they hold up a mirror for you in a way that was too hard to bear?  What kind of pain were you in at the time?  How did it feel to be mean?  Not so good.

Now go find their email address and tell them you’re sorry.  I have passed on this gift today, and while at first I couldn’t think of a specific incident– of really being mean to somebody, after I got real with myself, I thought of a few people I’m sure I hurt along the way.  And I reached out to them.  It felt like coming out of a cool lake. For both of us.  Thank you, then, to this old friend and her morning email. For her generosity of spirit. She didn’t have to do it. But she did.  That’s what really makes the world go ’round.

16 Comments

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16 Responses to Apology. Grace.

  1. I guess I should start with my sister.

  2. I do this all of the time, maybe because I get reminded to every Sunday. I love the part of the Episcopal Confession prayer where you say you are sorry for the things you have done and the things you have left undone. It is easy forget about the things left undone.

  3. Preceding Yom Kippur, one’s obligation is to directly apologize to the person you have wronged (if possible) and theirs is to accept your apology.

    I love this annual reminder and I’ve written some letters throughout the years. But more importantly, it keeps me awake during the other 355 days, so I can apologize as soon as I can.

    • lauramunson

      So glad to know this, Pamela. Thanks. All day I’ve been thinking about the sacredness of apology. yrs. Laura

  4. Sallie

    How kind of this person to apologize. I have said,”I’m sorry.” a long time ago. Forgivenessis a gift you give yourself.

  5. There is so much freedom in letting go of past resentments and hurts (I, too, am an Episcopalian and love the weekly general confession).
    I am in a 12 step program where making amends is one of the steps taken towards recovery. Confessing and letting go leads to personal freedom. Kudos to your friend, Laura.

    • flipstick

      I think it’s always wonderful to hear someone (in sincerity) say, ‘I’m sorry’. It’s always better when it’s fresh in you heart and the reverb of the pounding of the ear drums and the sour stomach pains aren’t there lingering in the afterglow. At that point I’d rather try to bury it and move on.

  6. What a wonderful gift this woman gave you. And think of all the good that your passing forward this idea on will engender. Lovely.

  7. Dear Laura,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. What a gift it would be for all of us to find that person (or people) and do the same. You’ve inspired me.

    Thanks again for sharing the experience. I greatly appreciate you in my life!

    Hugs,
    Gail

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