I check Facebook too much. Whether it’s to look at my news feed or to read what someone REALLY thinks about John Mayer and Katy Perry dating again, it’s a total crutch for me. John knows this and if he sees me looking down at my phone, he’s always like, “Really? Facebook? Again?” So I try to be very stealthy about the whole thing.
So I was sitting there, trying to read my news feed in stealth mode when I got a message. I get very excited about Facebook messages. I don’t know why but I think it has something to do with not having a very exciting life.
Anyway, I opened the message and was a little confused.
Me: What’s an amend letter?
John: No idea.
Me: Does this have something to do with the steps? (I was thinking of AA)
John: No idea.
The message I got was from an old friend in college. He asked in just a few sentences if he could have my address because he wanted to send me an amend letter.
I had never heard the term “amend letter” and still don’t know if it’s a common one. I sent him my address and told him that he didn’t need to write me an amend letter – that he and I were good. That there was nothing that needed fixing.
But I realized that while in my mind, nothing needed fixing, that perhaps this was more for him.
A week or so later, I received a letter in the mail, apologizing for something I had truly long forgiven. In my mind, it was so long ago and I genuinely thought he and I made up at some point in college.
So to be standing in my kitchen, holding a letter, apologizing for something that happened almost 15 years before left me confused.
And a little bit raw.
The incident itself came back to me and I replayed it in my mind. It didn’t bring back a lot of pain as some of the past can do. But yeah, at the time I remember being terribly sad and confused. Words were exchanged that hurt. I lost a friend.
Yes. It sucked.
I took my old friend’s letter and put it away. Wondering when I had let the pain go at some point, but also wondering why he had held onto regret for that long. If I had known that he felt so bad about it, I would have reached out to him myself to give him that comfort and to make sure he knew I was ok.
I appreciate his letter and hope it gave him some peace because when I hear his name, I don’t associate it to the days when things went wrong, but to when things were right. To what a great guy he was, to how motivated he was. IS.
That he was my friend at some point in my life.
15 years feels like a long time for an apology. But in many ways, there was no better time. This was when he was ready to give it and the stars aligned somewho and I was ready to accept it.
The funny thing is, for most of the crappy or hurtful things in our lives, the ones that really take us for a loop and dump us ungracefully on our ass somewhere, we may never get the closure that he and I got with that letter.
We might want it. We might hope for it. Heck we might even dream about it.
It may come. It might not.
We may also never get a chance to apologize for regret. Just like my friend gave me the gift of an apology, I gave him the gift of my acceptance. Life doesn’t always package itself that neatly. Apologies aren’t always accepted, no matter how genuine they are.
Here’s the thing though.
Regret? It’s a terribly heavy thing to bear. It can weigh you down. It can turn your life dark. It can change you if you really, really let it.
You know this. As you are reading this, I bet you can think of something you regret. Of someone you feel like you wronged. At the same time, you might also be looking for resolution to something that never closed. In in its wake, perhaps never healed. Perhaps you are hoping still for an apology.
So here’s what you do. Write down your regrets. Not the ones that are like, “Gosh, I really should have shared my lollipop with Susie Piscitielli in third grade.”
Susie has moved on. She is old enough to buy lots of lollipops by now.
Write the stuff that has truly felt like a weight on you. The kind where, when you think of it, you start to feel uncomfortable and it feels like someone is holding your heart a little tighter.
Can you change anything on that list? Can you apologize to someone today and make that weight a little lighter? Can you maybe accept the fact that you might not receive acceptance?
If you can. Just do it. Go on and throw that weight off of you for crying out loud, because it is making you sink a little more every day you hold it.
If you can’t change it?
LET. IT. GO.
Seriously. You have to move forward.
As for waiting for an apology or hoping for closure on something.
At some point, you just have to acknowledge this simple fact.
That’s NOT your weight to bear. Let it go. Let THEM keep it.
Control what you can. What you can control is yourself. You have NO control over what someone else chooses to “grant” you. If an apology comes later, and you have it in you to accept it and grant the person your empathy, please do it. But don’t live your life waiting in the shadows of your grief, hoping that it will come.
But it might not.
Remember this. It’s NOT YOUR WEIGHT ANYMORE.
I say this to you as if I don’t say it to myself. I am trying to lessen the weight every day. Of regrets. Of hurt. And it’s not easy to look at everything and say, “I can (or can’t) control this part of what I think I need to make me happy.“
In my friend writing me that letter of apology for wrongs that I didn’t even know needed to be made right, I learned a valuable lesson.
I am so grateful for his apology. But I am so glad that I have not been sitting around freaking waiting for it for 15 years.
Cast off the weight. Just live.
P.S. Dear friends, I have a favor to ask. If you haven’t already, would you like Simply Om on Facebook? It’s a fair trade jewelry marketplace to bring awareness and assistance to women around the world. Every piece tells a story, every purchase helps another woman tell hers. Would love your support!