Never Too Late to Apologize


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.


Crazy Lady and Swallow NIMBYism

147685 on Pixabay. CC0 Creative CommonsThe swallows have returned to the neighborhood. We watch them through our large, plate glass windows as they scope out the houses for the perfect spots to build their nests. They like the eaves of our house: high up; well-protected.

I love swallows.

Continue reading “Crazy Lady and Swallow NIMBYism”

Ashamed by her Shame

23_MeTooI haven’t participated publicly in the #MeToo campaign, but with all the stories coming forth about women (and men) being put into sexual situations–over decades–that ranged from uncomfortable to violently abusive by men they trusted or admired or were dependent on, my own uncomfortable experiences as a young girl bubbled up.

When I’ve shared with women friends’ details about an uncle’s inappropriate behaviors toward me—sexual in nature but not sex—I’ve been surprised at how many of these friends have had stories similar to—and often much more distressing than—my own.

Continue reading “Ashamed by her Shame”

A Habit of Apologizing

21_Sorry-croppedI have a character that apologizes. Unconsciously. Quite frequently. Especially at home with Bubba, and often when no apology is needed.

At least, I think she apologizes. She says “sorry” a lot.

“Sorry, I drank the last of the wine.”

“Sorry,” as Bubba and I dodge each other around the kitchen island.

“Sorry, I’m going to be late.”

When I look at what sorry means—a feeling of regret or sorrow—I don’t really think my character is experiencing those feelings when she says “sorry.”

It’s closer to a feeling of unconscious penitence, some hidden feeling of fault or “sin” for which forgiveness is sought. From the nearest person. Absentmindedly.

Do I really believe that drinking the last of the wine, or dodging each other in the kitchen, or being late is a sin?  In need of forgiveness? 

Maybe it’s just a habit I picked up somewhere and am only now noticing it?

I really don’t know where it came from, or why I do it.  Sorry.