Have you ever wanted an apology so bad you could taste it? Have you ever known that you deserved an apology, earned the right to hear the words that someone was sorry for something that was done to you or wronged you in some way? Or reversely, have you ever known that you owed someone an apology but couldn’t choke the words out? The words burning your tongue like a bite of hot pizza that you can’t spit out. The longer you hold them in the more they hurt and the harder it is to get rid of. Why is that? Why is apology so hard to say and so hard to accept and so hard to obtain? It’s elusive.
A good apology is an art form, right? I mean, when someone says they are sorry, and they mean it, the words are just merely a vehicle to deliver the emotion. When a person is truly overcome with remorse for anything, it might seem enormous to the apologizer and it may be trivial to the receiver, it is physically painful to speak. It will hurt, in that moment, to force the sounds to vibrate within your vocal cords and form around the tongue. The lips will forget how to dance with the mouth to work the appropriate syllables and all that comes out is mumbles and crying. As tears leak from your eyes and snot rolls down your nose, your soul burns with the desire for forgiveness where it has settled in the middle of your chest. The metallic taste of blood lingers on your taste buds from the words that became a jagged piece of glass stuck in your windpipe. You will be humbled, and ruined, and broken and freed all in the same moment.
On the other hand a bad apology, well that is just insulting. When a person has wronged you in a way that is troubling to the very core of which you are, you deserve for them to feel badly for that. A person deserves to have the power to forgive them, or not. But, when the person does not care about your forgiveness, and your feelings are so easily cast aside, not even a blip on their emotional radar that is far worse. Not only will you not get the satisfaction of telling them you do or do not forgive them, but you are left wondering how something so hurtful to you means nothing to them. Our feelings not being validated hurts, often, even worse than the original infraction. Or, if the person apologizes just to pacify you, well that can just be condescending. I would rather someone abstain from giving me an apology then to give me one that is meaningless and transparent. That means your feelings mean so little that they can just throw words in your direction without any regard for where they land. When a person can’t even bother to hide their disdain, or lack of caring towards your feelings, that really sucks and is another unforgiving act needing of an apology.
But what about when there is no one wrong or right? When a thing happens, a thing so egregious that people are hurt and feelings are hurt, and lives are changed but there is really no one particular thing that say THAT is the reason. There is no reason, no one thing to pin point. There is no one to apologize and no one to take a bow to say they were wrong and take their punishment, whatever that may be. There are times in life when a person wants to blame someone, and looks around wildly for the person or thing that has run away with their rights, their moment of apology, only to find bare streets, and blinking light posts, and ghosts of feelings past drifting by. The day you wake up and realize that your child is an addict, and you aren’t too blame, but no one is too blame, and no one is going to apologize or give you your child back, or your life or her life back, that’s a sad day. A parent can only hope to have someone to charge after or chase or berate or hurt in the name of their wounded child. There is no one to fight. There is no one to chastise. Sometimes it doesn’t happen because of a sports injury, or a traumatic event. Sometimes addiction happens because of something we can’t see or understand, from a place so deep that it can never be found. Sometimes shit happens. Life happens: On life’s terms. And life apologizes to no one.