It has come to my realization lately that I don’t know much. I make mistakes like a child drawing in a coloring book. I mean well, I say my prayers, I try to emulate those I respect… and yet my crayons keep drifting over the lines. Why is it so easy to make a mistake, but so hard to let one go?
When Kiki makes a mistake it usually involves me picking up something and getting out the cleaning supplies. When Tony Romo makes a mistake a whole team can loose. The older we get the heavier the consequences for our mistakes. We cheat – relationship over. We steal – welcome to the big house. We say the wrong thing – a war is started is to locate weapons of mass destruction. It’s a slippery slope. Even the little mistakes like talking on the phone and driving too fast can have irreparable results.
The conundrum is that we know how fallible we are as individuals and yet when one of us fouls up, we hold on to it so damn hard. This past weekend I saw a friend of mine whom I haven’t been friends with in a long time. On the plus side, seeing her was without the dramatic histrionics that I feared. Instead, it was like putting on an old pair of jeans that don’t fit quite the way they used to, but you can nevertheless remember why you bought them in the first place. At some point in the evening it became apparent that while at a bar, in the middle of a party, we would talk.
At such a crossroads there are two ways, as I see it, that you can play it. Option One is to react. Person A tells Person B the mistake she made, Person B tells Person A the mistakes she made. And on and on it goes as the two people try to make the other one understand why the coloring got out of bounds. Option Two is to apologize. I took option two. In my opinion, option two in the more compassionate, honest, and grown-up thing to do. Of course there are a myriad of reasons why mistakes happen, but claiming them I feel, teaches you a lesson about also forgiving them. Recognizing that you make mistakes reminds you that everyone else does too. Also, in my heart of hearts, I wanted her to feel better. No other words even came to mind.
Last night I asked Sam what he would do if he knew he had only one year to live. His answer: travel around the world. His mistake: not mentioning me once in this scenario. When he saw my face drop I told him how much his answer had hurt my feelings. He apologized – it had been a mistake, a misunderstanding. As I looked up at him, I let it go. I let it all go. It was just a mistake.
Today, as you’re out there in the world doing what you do, be compassionate. Treat everyone you meet as if you knew he or she would be dead by midnight. As if the little things, the little mistakes, the little wrong-doings didn’t matter…because they don’t. We’re all in this big coloring book together.