You can’t say the words “Love Story” without somebody coughing several times or repeating the infamous phrase, Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
I think the words I’m sorry are two of the most difficult words to deliver when you are absolutely sincere about them, and my theory is that you aren’t sincere unless you feel like you might vomit when saying them. I’m sorry has to come from the deepest part of you.
I remember the first time I uttered those words directly from my heart. I was seven years-old, and was playing with Jenna across the street. As we were playing, her mom brought out grape juice for each of us in a jelly jar.
Jelly jars had cartoons or decorative designs on them to encourage people to wash out the jelly and use them as drinking glasses. Our cupboard was filled with them.
We also got cool blue glasses at the gas station when we filled up our car, but that’s another story.
Anyway, I was thrilled to drink a big glass of grape juice since, as a Baptist, I was used to receiving grape juice only during the Lord’s Supper in tiny, shot-like glasses. This was a treat.
I was goofing off with Jenna while drinking and somehow dropped the glass on the pavement. The grape juice stained the concrete, and the jelly jar exploded.
I turned and ran, a natural response to conflict that I still use occasionally.
But I wasn’t running without a purpose. I was running into my house to get money to replace the juice glass. My mom always wondered where I got the money, since at that point I didn’t even receive an allowance. To be honest, I’m not sure where the money in my wallet came from either. I’m pretty sure I sold one of the wealthier neighbor kids a white rock for a dollar. He wasn’t real bright.
I ran back to Jenna’s house with my dirty, white wallet and faced her mother with a dollar in my hand.
“I’m sorry I broke your glass,” I said. My voice trembled and my hand shook with the fear of rejection.
“Oh, honey,” she said, “I don’t care about that silly old glass. Save your dollar and let’s just get this cleaned up.”
I sighed with relief, but my heart still felt the apology. . .
Sincere apologies come from the aortic pump in your chest. You know, that thing that doesn’t connect to ego.
Our ego tells us that apologizing is weak, unnecessary, and that the other person was just as wrong if not more wrong and they should be the one to apologize.
While we debate the apology, relationships dissolve and we lose people that we love, or we lose jobs, or we lose a small part of ourselves.
So, maybe love means we should absolutely say we’re sorry . . .
At the tender age of eight, my appendix burst and a thirty minute surgery became a four-hour surgery. Why did it take so long? Because scar tissue had formed around the organ and they couldn’t get to it.
I did get a new blue, quilted robe and yellow fuzzy slippers from the experience, but it was not worth weeks of pain and the repeated ingestion of hospital oatmeal.
Until you admit your side of a wrong, nothing will change. Especially you.
Am I going to find that driver I flipped off yesterday and apologize? Probably not. He was in a really big truck with a bumper sticker that extolled his love of shooting things.
But, will I reach out to that person whose feelings I hurt with a flippant comment? Yes. I went for the laugh without considering their feelings, and if I don’t apologize then I will spend years wrapping excuses around the story like scar tissue around a damaged organ, and my heart will harden a little.
Consider apologizing. It will keep emotional scar tissue away, and keep your aortic pump young and vital.