Tipping The BalanceShe said, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.”
It was second grade and I can still see her face, I can still feel the warmth spreading across my abdomen, running up my arms, pulsating in my temples. It started out feeling warm but then quickly became icy cold, like her eyes as she looked away from me, so as not to expose herself to my tears.
She had made up her mind, plus, even at that young age I was aware enough to understand that attempting to plead one’s case in this type of situation would only lead to humiliation. Then she might get “caught” having intentionally hurt another, and in the environment in which we were housed, a small Catholic school, she would surely be reprimanded. Then we would have to confront each other in front of others, do the obligatory handshake and nod our innocent heads that we would be lifelong friends, Sister. It was just a misunderstanding…
Then I would be ostracized for not having been able to take it like a man. You don’t get someone “into trouble” because they no longer want you in their circle; you say okay and you go home and cry. I knew the drill.
Later, in fourth grade I would do the exact same thing to someone else. I just told her outright, as it had been told to me. I know I hurt her, and I still have trouble living with myself at the thought of it, of the pain that I knowingly inflicted. It haunts me. I friended her on Facebook once during my short unsuccessful tenure there, but I never made an overture of any kind. I wish I had.
When you hurt someone, and you know that you have hurt them deeply, there is really only one thing to be done, but very few, and when I say very few, I mean—hardly anyone—does it. It’s called, making things right.
I have a sibling in AA who as part of his journey tried to reach out to me to apologize for having inflicted unimaginable pain on me, but sadly he came up woefully short. He could not bring himself to say “I’m sorry.” He pitifully danced around it. I still wonder if they gave him a pass for that one. Well, it seems you have completed eleven of the twelve steps, I guess that’s good enough…
I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about…stuff…like… this. It’s called depression, or perhaps genius. Okay, I’m going with genius because it just sounds better, and gives me a way to justify my obsession with the “making things right” scenario upon which I am about to expound.
I believe there is a balance in nature, in the universe, in what we haplessly refer to as our daily lives. And I believe wholeheartedly that that balance is fragile, and must be maintained if we are to survive as a species.
I am quite serious.
When you hurt someone you weaken them, you chip away at their self-confidence, their self-esteem, and their will to live often. Conversely, if you apologize, attempt to make things right, you can help them to heal.
Their healing is your healing.
You cannot undo the hurt, but you can mitigate it, set the groundwork for the transition that must be made from “wounded” to “ rehabilitated” to “healed.”
“I’m sorry” is all it takes, but even uttering those words for some is impossible.
But oh my god! Imagine if we could all be healed, what an amazing place this world would be.
There is a balance and it is tipped so far in favor of pain and hurt. You can see it everywhere you look. We need to get the balance back. We need to get the balance back in favor of love. We need to look within and say, “What can I do to make things right in my world?”
It all starts with “I’m sorry.”