Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When 'Sorry' Isn't Enough

I'm sure we have all had things that have happened in our lives that have required an apology--either from us or to us. These can be really heartbreaking, frustrating, and life-altering experiences. Regardless, there are times when 'sorry' is not adequate to fix the wrong or heal the gaping wound left behind.

In my life, there have been more than one of these occasions. Sometimes, there has been an apology. Other times, there has been no acknowledgement by the other person that something wrong had even happened.

In one such occasion, from which I am still trying to heal and gain closure, I even emailed the person about all of my feelings and ways I had been hurt over many years of my life. I won't go into the awful details, but for those who know me well, you may know what I'm talking specifically about (though not all of the details). For me, it was good to get all of those thoughts, feelings and emotions out, but the hurt was never quite resolved. The person did not even acknowledge my email. Never said I'm sorry. Never replied. Never called. Nothing. Nada.

I felt (and still feel) like it was such an email that needed, no, required a response, if not a discussion, or at least a simple "I'm sorry." I know it was received, as I still get mindless forwards all the time from this same person, as well as a few group messages (short, one-liner types).

It's a pain that resides deep in my soul. An emptiness and void that I am trying to fill. A broken heart that I am trying to heal. A relationship (or lack of) that I am trying so hard to understand. A burden that needs to be lifted. A sense of abandonment that even as an adult I carry.

But really, an "I'm sorry" would only be a start in this situation. It could in no way make up for the pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, feelings of self doubt, low self worth, and lost time and lost relationship. Though, I know that this person is likely not even capable of an apology at this point in their life, I still have hope for this person, and for me.

I have been learning and growing and expanding in my knowledge of the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Healer. He knows all of the pain, sorrow and suffering that I specifically and individually have felt, as he does know for each person who has lived or ever will live upon this earth. Through Him, I can be healed. You can be healed.

The Atonement is not just for those who have done something wrong and need to repent and receive forgiveness. It is also for those who need to be healed from a wrong. I have forgiven this person (I think, I may still be working on it), but I still have the wounds that are healing. This person, even apologizing, is incapable of undoing what has been done and healing another person. Only Jesus Christ can fully heal a person. The healing can take place, but what's done can never be undone.There are consequences to every action--good or bad.

I hope, that for the sake of this person, that they can come around and truly repent--which may require many apologies and a lot of time, healing and learning.

I recently read a really tremendous book by Lloyd D. Newell (he's the red-haired guy that does Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sunday mornings!). It's called "The Gospel of Second Chances." (Incidentally, I have a review coming soon on this book.) There were so many things in this book that I loved, but especially the parts about the Atonement--which may actually be the whole book.  The main point of it is to instill a belief in second chances (and also in third or fourth chances), not only for yourself, but also for others.

Newell states:
 "The Atonement of Jesus Christ fully compensates for all unfair disadvantages suffered during mortality, including never having the opportunity of hearing the fullness of the gospel, or never fully learning or understanding it, having been "blinded by the craftiness of men" (D&C 76:75)." (p. 49)
My favorite part is that first line that says the Atonement "fully compensates for all unfair disadvantages suffered during mortality." Isn't that a great message? I also love the other part where there will be such leniency for those who have been confused by the world or who have not been able to learn about or understand the gospel. I think the Atonement is a lot more beautiful than we can even imagine. A miracle, for sure, and a tender mercy even more.

I know that in the end, everything is going to work itself out. There will be repentance and forgiveness; there will be healing. It is our duty to forgive others and ourselves, and to then rely on our Savior's Atonement to fill in the many blanks when sorry is not enough.

© Wendy 2013

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