The Most Difficult Words

It was late in July, when Jaime woke me up very early in the morning to chat with her while she had some cereal.  The steroids had already altered her need for “fuel,” and it had become normal to hear her in the kitchen having a bowl of cereal in the middle of the night and then again later in the morning when Felicity would have her breakfast.  This morning was different.  I stood across from her, making a cup of coffee, and Jaime began to cry.  I immediately thought her recent diagnosis and the start of her radiation and chemotherapy treatments had finally hit her.  But no…that wasn’t it.  She looked at me and just said, “I am so sorry.”  I wasn’t about to let her apologize for a cancer that wasn’t her fault, or for a life that was now inundated with sleepless nights, full day, every day doctor’s appointments, and our financial depression.  But that wasn’t it either.  “I am so sorry I hurt you.”  I couldn’t breathe.  Jaime was an extraordinary woman who was able to do anything.  Apologizing was not one of those things.  In fairness, we both held our own, and used political verbiage to make our point and stand our ground.  Prior to the strokes and the diagnosis, Jaime and I had had a huge falling out that almost caused us to separate.  Our hearts were not of one accord and it seemed we would rather hurt each other with words than take the necessary steps towards healing.  But Jaime’s cancer changed that.  Her apology that morning changed the course of our final months together, as well.  As I listened to her say something I never thought I would hear her say, I had but one response – “Jaime, I am so sorry I let you down.”  And that my fellow traveler is where our healing began.  After that morning, we never again talked about our falling out.  From that day forward, I was reminded of why I loved her so much.  Forgiveness is difficult particularly when you are like me and you want to ensure that justice is served.  There is a point, however, when the pursuit of justice can become nothing more than a quest to see that the other person hurts just as much as you do.  But that’s just not possible.  In the end, you not only have scars of the past, but also the self-inflicted wounds of revenge.  When Jaime and I forgave each other, God could forgive us for how we had let Him down.  And in drawing us closer to Himself and to one another He was able to provide sufficient strength and whispers of His presence as we walked an uncertain path.  Today is the day to pick up the phone.  Right now is when you should knock on the door.  Offer an apology without preconditions.  Let the healing begin in your life.  I guarantee they will be the most difficult words you will say, but they will also be the most satisfying as your journey continues.

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