I am supposing that the statute of limitations has passed, so I want to tell you the worst thing I ever did. I still feel badly about to this day and frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach.
When I was 23 or so, my husband worked 3rd shift. Because I was a young, relatively new wife, I would stay up at night so I could sleep during the day with him. I cleaned house at night, put up jelly, did laundry, crocheted, read books, and played on the computer. We had AOL and dial up back then and I thought that was the most amazing thing ever. I made friend in places like Australia. :)
A couple I used to babysit for called and asked if I would get their 5 year old son off the bus and watch him for a couple hours while they worked. I told them that it would not be a problem. Fast forward to that day.
I overslept. I slept until 4:00 until I heard someone knocking at the door. I answered it only to find the child's father on my front porch. "Where is Charles?" He asked.
The first words that came to my mind are not fit to type here and were probably not fit to even think.
I wanted to die. I wanted to rewind my morning and not do *that* - that horrible thing of failing a tremendous responsibility.
Looking back at it now, I am very glad it wasn't his mom that came for him. I am glad she never felt that panic of trusting someone with your child, have them fail miserably to the point that he is out there, somewhere, not where he was supposed to be. His dad was quite calm. I hurriedly dressed, determined that I was going to search every inch of our city for this child, who I had lost. His dad asked me to stay where I was just in case the child happened to come back there.
He probably did not want me to cause anymore damage. So I stayed. And cried. A lot.
A couple minutes later, the father returned with Charles and said, "Well, I found him! He was over at another friend of ours who lives down the road from you."
Needless to say, I apologized profusely and was never asked to babysit again.
Which brings me around to my point. I said I was sorry. But, sorry really did not fix it. My remorse did not change what had been done. I was very fortunate that things turned out as well as they did. Things could have been so, so much worse - and no matter how sorry I was - that could not have been undone.
Saying sorry is an important part of the relationship between two people. We need to be sorry, to feel regret and remorse over our wrong doings. But, a simple apology doesn't fix anything. Sorry needs to go beyond a simple word. It needs to start with words.
I wish I could say to them now, "I am so very very sorry that I was so irresponsible. There is no excuse, no reason that I ever allowed that to happen. I know that I put your child in danger and he is a precious, amazing little boy who could never be replaced. I know that I caused you to fear and feel a panic that you should have never had to experience. I am sorry. I did the wrong thing. If there is anything I can do to help you feel better, no matter what that is, even if it means to never speak to you again, I will do it."
It doesn't change what happened. I can not think of a single thing that I could have done or could do now to make up for the situation. That is where grace and forgiveness come in. I needed that father's grace and he handed it to me in a giant overflowing bucket full.
When we have wronged someone, it is our responsibility to apologize, take what is dished out, and seek how we can give restitution even if that is something as simple as seeking reconciliation on their terms, no matter how uncomfortable and even if it doesn't make *us* feel better.
Have you said you were sorry today? Have you forgiven and handed out grace? I pray that those of you who are going through a hard part in life can truly set yourself aside and just love.