Rare but Beautiful Words
by David Murray | Source: Virtue's Clues
I think that some of the greatest things in life are the simplest
things. Things like a glass of water when you’re thirsty, a good pillow
when you’re tired, the ‘off’ button on the remote and little words like
‘please’, ‘thanks’ and ‘sorry’. And it’s easy to see how the world would
be a better place if we only got back to things simple.
It seems almost warped to say that one of the best parts of love, and
even friendship, is making up. But I think that that’s the way it goes. I
learnt this as a kid.
Whenever I’d have a fight with my brother our mum would always remind us
that it was not a good thing to go to bed with a grudge in our head. So
after we had both calmed down, and let the hours cool us off some more,
one of us would braven up, look for the other guy and say ‘Sorry’. You
never got the response “Yeah, you should be!” or “You started it!” You
always got “Yeah, well, I’m sorry too” or a hug. And that was not only a
show of love, but a deepening of the very bond.
And that’s a good rule of thumb in life too. If you love someone and
think they love you, and if someday you offend them and say ‘Sorry’, if
they do love you, or if they are really your friend, their response will
not recriminate but unite. You can apply this across the board to the
way parents deal with kids, to how married people act among themselves
and even to how sincere friendships inter-react. “Sorry” is a great
People don’t use the word much nowadays though. Not because they do not
see the need to use it, but simply because they haven’t got the guts.
Sad, but true. We need to braven up.
“Sorry” is not a band-aid that covers an offense. Nor it is an exercise
in getting things off your chest. It is more like the surgeon who
delicately and conscientiously coaches the fibres of a damaged muscle
together again after a tear. Something valuable has been broken or torn
and it must be put back together again.
And “sorry” doesn’t belittle you either. It actually makes you bigger in
the eyes of the offended. If someone has ever said a real “sorry” to
you, you’ll remember that while you may not have liked that person any
more than before, you certainly admired him more.
Nor does “sorry” put a lid on things. When you say sorry and mean it, it
signals your willingness to start anew, to start renewed.
“Sorry” is a key ingredient in prayer too. Not the breast-thumping kind
of dumb self-love ridden stuff : “Oh I’m useless and full of misery and
not worth anything, and am nothing but a walking mistake.” Sorry is
rather the simple and candid recognition that “Along the way I’ve
messed up a bit and that, before we get down to business, I’d like to
settle things up”. Much as a kid when he wants to say something
important to his mum or dad may first well say something like, “Oh, by
the way, I’m sorry I spoke the way I did to you this morning.” (Of
course, kids don’t always so many words but a little parental eye will
get the message.)
If you ever have to say sorry, ask the Lord to be there. When He’s
involved in fixing stuff, stuff gets fixed. The bond that was broken may
suffer further attacks, but it will certainly be stronger now than
Charity covers a multitude and ‘sorry’ fixes a heap.
Of course there are lots of ways of saying sorry, but nothing beats the short, crisp, beautiful word: “Sorry”.
And that’s what I think.
David Murray is an education consultant and video producer who writes
from Rome. To read more of his articles go to
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