“Not this time.”
It’s usually just about low self-esteem. I don’t think I am really as good as I want to be. This feeling, this illness, this utter lack of belief in myself has found its way into almost everything I do. It is an illness with no known cause but it does have one very clear symptom. This symptom manifests itself on an almost daily basis. The condition has become come cancerous to my sense of self. I suffer from a terminal case of “I’m sorry.”
If you happen to spend more than a few minutes with me, you will hear it. I’m sorry that I’m late. I’m sorry that it’s raining. I’m sorry about that completely insensitive joke someone else just told. I’m sorry that I laughed at it.I’m sorry when we win and I’m sorry when we lose. I’m sorry that the waters too wet. I’m sorry that the sugar’s too sweet. I’m sorry. I’m sorry . I’m sorry. Hell, I just realized that I am even sorry that I am sorry…..Oh, wait that sounded stupid and I’m sorry for that too.
It’s not that I don’t believe in myself at all. It’s just that I get so tired of living in a world where far too many people only care about themselves. I know I am not the only one who sees it. There are those of us who try to quietly live our lives in a way that tries to show that we value the goodness in others and try our best to make the world just a bit better by the help we offer, the smiles we give and the feeling that everybody deserves a better life than the one they now live. And far too often we feel outnumbered by the bastards in our midst. The guy who thinks he doesn’t have to wait for the traffic to clear so he drives around us on the sidewalk. The lady who thinks the “ten items or less” doesn’t apply to her. The teenager who thinks that we really want to hear the music from his car blasting away at the stoplight. They are everywhere and are a function of a society where it’s about “me getting mine” instead of “let’s do what’s right”.
Those of us on the other side of the selfish divide then have to make a choice. It’s the ultimate fight or flight reflex and it happens on an almost subconscious level. Do we want to turn our heads and ignore the self-centered? Is it o.k. to just pretend that those who crush any who are between them and whatever primal or monetary need they wish to fill at the time are just misguided souls having a moment of weakness and if we give them the opportunity that they will do the right thing? Sometimes that is the best way. God knows that I believe in second chances and in the potential goodness of all . I often just play the wait and see game when it comes to whether a jerk is a jerk, or is he just one that does jerky things.
However sometimes relying on the goodness of others is too big a price to pay, particularly when you see the collateral damages that the evil can do.Sometimes it takes something more. There are times when we run out of cheeks to turn. There comes the rare opportunity when we decide to, if not give Karma a push, to at least show her the direction she needs to go. Once in a while, we are our own Gandalf. We decide to strike our staffs upon the earth and declare to the selfish and the profane,”YOU SHALL NOT PASS.” And sometimes, that even works.
But, sadly, more often than not the “angels of our better nature” as Lincoln called them tell us to just let it go. We are not the angry type. We see the drama of the world and decide not to add any more performances to the playbill. And deep down, if we really care about others and doing right, we know that taking a bad path to do a good deed is still the wrong road to take. So we acquiesce. No, we don’t surrender our values but rather choose to exemplify them by doing good and helping others instead of a constant state of confrontation with the d.b. people we see.
Not that we don’t all have moments when we just want to be a “Me First”-er. We all have moments when we don’t want to surrender the remote. Where we want to pick the restaurant. When we just want to be pampered and coddled too. Then, it rises up. That feeling of guilt that says that the last thing this world needs is for one of the givers to change teams. So we apologize. WE are sorry for the selfishness in ourselves as much as that in others. We may be branded patsies and fools, but we shall not be labeled hypocrites. So we keep saying that we are sorry, day after day.
It was just one of those days of apologies that I saw this news story.
Boy dies in freak playground accident.( Right click to open)
Not that it matters, but I just happened to know this father, although briefly. He spend one season as a coach at the youth baseball park that I have coached for these last 6 years. He was there only a season but both the father and the boy were genuinely nice people. He had a great team but more than that he had a great perspective on life and treated all with class and dignity. My heart goes out to him and I will be sad in knowing that the world has been robbed of another fine young man. And I am sorry for his loss..
And then I started thinking about it. And I don’t think sorry is the right word. I would like to tell this dad that I sincerely hope in time his pain will lessen. That in the fraternity of those who have had their children taken away too soon, there will be those that understand and can help you heal . Most of all I want to tell him, that I am honored to have met his son if even for a moment and I pray that God, whatever God you happen to prescribe to, will send him his comfort and love.
No, I can’t be sorry this time because being sorry just doesn’t cut it.
The more I pondered this , the more it unnerved me and made me analyze my way of living. I am really looking at myself and realize that there are a lot of things that I am not sorry about too.
I am not sorry that I took a few months off to spend with my kids.
I am not sorry that it means that the credit score is a little lower and the bank account a little lighter but being here when they needed me was worth it.
I am not sorry that I laugh too much.
I am not sorry that I try to help others.
I am not sorry that I have to go with less sleep in order to do the things necessary to care for others.
I am not sorry that I make decisions based on what is right instead of what is easy.
I am not sorry that my family is the most important thing in my life.
I am not sorry that I spend hours at a baseball field with a group of kids that are genuinely good people.
I am not sorry that education is important to me.
I am not sorry that my friends matter to me.
I am not sorry that I am honest with my kids about what I know and what I don’t know.
I am not sorry that I to play video games with my son and go to concerts with my daughter.
I am not sorry that I enjoy my life.
I am not sorry that I wait in line, say “thank you” and hold doors open for strangers.
I am not sorry that my mom taught me manners.
I am not sorry that sometimes the right answer is no.
I am not sorry that I still want to make a difference.
I am not sorry that other people’s kids are important to me too.
I am not sorry that I want to do better.
I am not sorry that I tell my kids that I love them…………….
And I know that they are not sorry too.