Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Matter of Forgiveness

I've got to admit it, and it borders on the overly personal, but I was so mad at Patrick yesterday. So mad.

But you can't be mad at someone on his birthday. It's in the rule book.

I suck at anger. It isn't all that often that I am angry and I just have no idea how to deal with it. I have no anger role-model. My father was the type to completely blow up over any little thing. The whole neighborhood would know when he was mad. And he was mad a lot. My mother was too afraid to ever be angry, so she suppressed, suppressed, suppressed.

I fall somewhere in between.

When I'm mad at my husband I have no problem letting him know why and how he hurt me. Unless it has to do with money. But that's another story. It took us three years of marriage to learn how to fight well. We occasionally don't do so well. The summer of 2005 comes to mind. But for the most part, we communicate very well.

I haven't quite figured out those particulars with Patrick. How do friends express anger? I realized that I haven't had a close enough friend to even worry about this problem since college.

God, that sucks.

So as it turns out, it was a misunderstanding. A misunderstanding over one word, a tiny little pronoun at that. To me "you" was meant to be singular. To him "you" was meant to be plural. It's amazing how one small word can change so much.

He even told me that he was sorry. And he didn't say it in that, "I'm sorry you were upset. I'm sorry you didn't understand," way. But more like he was sorry that the misunderstanding happened at all.

How many people really say sorry anymore? Think about it. Have humans always been so bad at repentance, or is this a recent development?

We've taught our kids that when they do something by mistake they can say, "I'm sorry." But when they do something hurtful or wrong on purpose, they must ask for forgiveness. They must actually say the words, "Will you forgive me?"

It's humbling. But valuable.

I try to remember the lesson myself. It is very hard.

I'm sorry I misunderstood you. It was wrong of me to assume the worst. Will you forgive me?

See? That was painful. And it doesn't count because it wasn't in person.

Do you owe someone an apology? How much would it hurt to utter the words, "Will you forgive me?"

Would it be worth it?

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