He’s under the dining room table again. Hand covered face to the floor, and little finger tips tangled in the blond mess on the top of his head. Every time I kneel on the carpet and lower my head to see between the chair legs, my body reminds me of the gentle posture of God and the shadowy figure of a little boy looks just like me hiding.
“Sweetheart, don’t stay under there by yourself. We love you.”
His sister is poking her head around the corner of the wall now, less angry than she was a few moments ago.
His big eyes look up to see if it is safe. Slowly he slides out to the edge of the table, only to curl his tiny body into a ball before fully abandoning his cave.
My four-year-old son sheepishly looks up at his big sister, who he has just hurt, and says “I love you.” Her shoulders drop and her face softens, she gives him a hug.
“What else do you want to say?” I gently ask him.
I would be more amazed at how hard it is for kids to say “sorry” if I didn’t know for myself the shame and embarrassment of apologizing.
“It’s important,” I remind him. I could not believe it more.
Saying “I’m sorry” is not only how we receive forgiveness, saying “I’m sorry” is how we say “I love you.”
It’s a beautiful thing to be forgiven and for guilt to lose its heaviness. But sometimes the freedom of forgiveness isn’t enough to motivate us to come out from under the table.
I grew up in a family that pretended things didn’t happen, but might occasionally ask “We’re good, right?” Getting a “Sure, ya, we’re good.” might ease the guilt or tension in a situation, but it gives up the love and growth that come from working things out.
Saying “I’m sorry” means that you are willing to take on the shame of apologizing to fight for making things right. It means that you love the other person enough to be humble and admit that something wrong did happen, and that it was your fault. That you respect them enough to do the hard work of having a real relationship.
Saying “I’m sorry” matters.
Which relationships do you have that are worth fighting for?
- Is there anyone you need to apologize to?
- If there is someone who you need to ask for an apology?
Love is patient, and kind, and forgiving, and all of those things are as hard as they are beautiful.
May God give us the grace to love each other well, even when it’s tough.
Happy Love Day!