Never Too Late to Apologize

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She stood in front of me, her 8-year-old daughter by her side. This girl, now woman, who had taunted me in my youth. She and her friend would feign to befriend me, only to toss slights my way and jaunt off together to play, leaving me behind.  It was an up-and-down arrangement; when she needed someone, she’d turn to me. When she didn’t, she’d turn away.

Years passed. She was now a mother, with several children, and had redirected her life from the wildness of her youth, to that of a responsible adult, finding her way back to the God her grandmother feared she had strayed from.

“I feel so badly about how I treated you when we were kids,” she said, looking first at me, and then down at her daughter.

She spoke to the girl. “Mrs. G and I were neighbors, and I was mean to her. I’m not proud of that. That’s why we’re here: so I can tell her I’m sorry. I want you to treat people right, and to know it’s never too late to apologize.”

She looked back at me, subdued. We hugged, and I felt the pain of her shame. Her seeking forgiveness was a moment I never expected, didn’t know I wanted, and felt deep gratitude for experiencing. It was a moment of unanticipated grace; a grace still with me today.


 

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6 thoughts on “Never Too Late to Apologize

  1. Wonders never cease. There was a time when I treated three other women with indifference, and I took on the practice of cleaning up and healing strained relationships, I went to each and sincerely apologized for my behavior, for them as much as me. All three relationships transformed, and I had three less things to be pained about. Good for your friend, for you, for me, and for my friends. And most of all, for her daughter so she doesn’t pass such behavior forward. It’s what we do if we are not careful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The impact of words and acts of contrition can be amazing. For all involved. Like you, that day resulted in a change for my friend and for me. We deepened our connection and our friendship. I thought her decision to do what she did, intentionally having her daughter present, was a powerful statement. Thanks for you thoughts.

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  2. That’s a beautiful message and one I hope many people will pass on to their children. Thanks for sharing this story. We all need to not only be willing to apologize for past wrongs, but willing to forgive those who commit them (none of us are innocent).

    Liked by 1 person

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