When It’s Hard to Say “I’m Sorry,” Write It in a Yearbook

24 Oct

I am in the beginning stages of helping plan my 10-year high school reunion.  (Wow! I feel old.)  And this, of course, has prompted me to browse my high school yearbooks and such.  My school days (all of them, not just high school) were often difficult.  Kids were cruel, as kids often are.  Sometimes, especially cruel.

That’s not to say that my school experience was all bad.  It wasn’t.  We all eventually grew up (sometime during the summer before senior year) and learned to get along despite our socioeconomic/racial/personality/whathaveyou differences.  And I’ve never been one to hold a grudge, always forgiving people despite the lack of apology.  But as I was skimming my old high school yearbooks, I did come across an apology – the only one I ever remember receiving from a once-cruel classmate – written in blue ink on page 22.

Laura,

How goes it?  Well I want you to know that you have been a great friend.  All those times I was mean to you when we were younger, well I’m sorry for that.  Keep band strong next year.  Maybe you’ll get Drum Major next year!  That would be awesome.  Well I’ve gotta go.  I’ll write more later.

Your friend,

It was nice to read nearly 10 years ago.  Still is.  There is so much power in a simple “I’m sorry.”  I think so many times, we make offenses and then move on as if nothing ever happened, expecting the person on the receiving end to do so as well.  We’re penitent, and we expect others to realize this without our making it known:

My husband knows I was only angry and didn’t mean to say the hurtful things I did.  I don’t have to say, “I’m sorry.”  My best friend will forgive me for letting her secret slip.  After all, it was an accident.  My mom understands how busy I was last week when I forgot to call her back.  There’s no need to apologize.  My little brother won’t mind that I forgot his birthday.  He understands I have a lot of things on my mind.  My son knows I love him, even though I angrily yelled at him out of frustration.  My sister will forgive me for going overboard on the teasing.  She knows I didn’t mean to be hurtful.  That girl at church who walked in on us gossiping about her probably didn’t even hear what we were saying, anyway. The list goes on.

Not every wrongdoing is easily glossed over.  Many offenses are forgiven, but not all are forgotten.  Words and actions that may be no big deal to us can have a lasting effect on the recipients of those words and actions.

“I’m sorry.”

A simple phrase.  It’s not always easy to say.  But it is comforting, and sometimes necessary, to hear.

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2 Responses to “When It’s Hard to Say “I’m Sorry,” Write It in a Yearbook”

  1. k-rin Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    I got the invitation to my high school reunion last week….. it hurt!!

    High school feels like a lifetime ago…..sometimes seems more than the 10 years that it’s been. I always thought I’d go…..now, I’m not so sure.

    I realize that I won’t really see these people. I don’t need to catch up or really want to. I don’t even have relationships with them, with the exception of a few occasional facebook comments.

    Although, I’m helping plan an Architecture: 5 year reunion. That I’m excited about……THOSE classmates were like my family, still are.

    High school…..hmmmm, for me is better left in the past.

  2. laurajeanette Friday, November 7, 2008 at 11:40 pm #

    k-rin- You have to go to the reunion. It’s a lot of work to plan, and it would be soooo sad if no one showed up. And you can just show everybody how awesome and uber successful you are!

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