Saturday, July 19, 2008

At Fault

I hurt a friend today. Doesn’t that suck? I’m not sure there is anything quite so agonizing as knowing that you have upset someone you love. My offense was unintentional--a result of my own inability to manage my life and my time--but I don’t think that the thoughtless nature of my transgression lessened her distress any.

Thankfully, she called me on it and we were able to talk. I’m usually a pretty straightforward person (past friends have told me that I handle tense situations more like a guy--deal with it then forget it) so I didn’t have any trouble trying to communicate my deep regret at the fact that I trampled her feelings. But I can’t help wondering if she would have understood me better if I struggled. If I cried. The truth is: I can’t eat, I can’t sit still, and I can’t think about anything else. I’m afraid I’m effectively ruined as a contributing member of society until I can know without a doubt that she has forgiven me.

And who knows? Maybe she won’t.

Isn’t it amazing how complex we are? How deep our emotions go and how tied they are to events, relationships, and perceptions from yesterday and as far back as our childhood? A husband leaves his dirty shirt on the floor and his wife sees disrespect written all over the wrinkles of the discarded garment. It’s not just a crew neck in a heap, it’s a blatant disregard of who she is and what she does. She’s convinced she’s being trampled on and ignored. She just knows that this one small act of selfishness is indicative of their entire relationship: he doesn’t care. And the sad truth is, he does care. He just wasn’t thinking in the moment he dropped the dirty laundry a foot from the hamper. Maybe he was being selfish. Maybe he was daydreaming. But whatever the reason, the bottom line remains: his insensitivity to her needs created a rift that could have been easily avoided.

Anyway, I’m the inconsiderate husband in this little scenario, and since I don’t have much experience in this realm, I’m struggling. How can I make it up to her? Or is this one of those situations where only time can heal all wounds…? Sigh.

My friend is not much of an internet girl, so there's no chance she'll read this, but if a public apology would help I'd write: I'm an inconsiderate shmuck. I am so sorry I hurt you. I will do my best not to make such a dumb mistake again, but since I'm far more fallible than I usually like to admit, I'll probably disappoint you again. I hope we can work through that together. But for now, I just hope you can forgive me. I absolutely, unequivocally love you to death... Thing is, I already said all that to her and more. I hope she was listening.


  1. We can take comfort in that all of us have the capacity to hurt, to disappoint, to let down and to be less than people expect us to be. I'm sure your friend has been in this position too. I say comfort because no one is immune from hurting other people, especially unintentionally!
    We sometimes put so much burden on others to be perfect and not offend us, to see life as we see it, we all end up doing it because we are human. The beauty of it all is that we can choose to forgive and move on...because Jesus gives us that grace unconditionally. We cannot make someone forgive us --we can only humbly ask and stay in love, stay unoffended. Offense is the bait of Satan. I used to be such a touchy person, I've been seeing lately how really hard that is for other people to be around. How it's selfish and all about me. When I realize and continually realize my validation doesn't come from others but from Jesus I am truly free to love others without putting the burden on them to be perfect. The only debt we'll owe is to love other people and loving people means letting them learn these lessons too. Praying for you!
    Love in Jeus,

  2. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Annie. Because I'm not a very touchy person myself I sometimes don't understand when others are sensitive... Something I need to work on.