I'm Sorry Isn't Like a Tide To Go Pen
I am the queen of spilling things on myself. Truly. If I walk out the door wearing a light-colored shirt and carrying a cup of coffee, I often don’t even make it to the car before coffee jumps onto my shirt. When this happens, I typically go back in the house and change my shirt. However, if I’m running late or I am out and about when some food or drink item makes its appearance on my apparel, I’m stuck with the stain. My family has officially banned me from wearing white shirts when we travel together (totally serious here) because it is so embarrassing to have me walking around with them looking like a 2-year-old whose parent forgot to put a bib on them. Note to family members: I’m not going to wear a bib; I’m not old enough yet.
About two years ago, I did find an alternative to the bib option and it has revolutionized my life. It is called the Tide to Go Pen and it is like magic: it makes stains disappear, dries quickly and voila, I can pretend I’m not a total klutz! Just so you know, I am not a paid spokesperson for Tide to Go pens; I just think they are awesome. I carry one in every bag I own and have one in my car’s glove box as well. You may ask, “Can it conquer coffee stains?” Sure. “Even coffee with cream?” No problem. Strawberries? Bring it on. I even wrote a humorous poem about this incredible item (Tide to Go Pens are found in the laundry aisle in case you’re wondering). The minute I tried this pen, I felt profound relief. Why? Well, having my shirts look clean is not just a top priority because I’m the butt of many family jokes but also because I’m a therapist. It is not fun to have people staring at your shirt and potentially doubting your professional competency since your personal competency is so obviously in doubt. So, thank you Tide to Go pen for erasing my mistakes and helping me start fresh again and again.
Wouldn’t it be great if all our mistakes could be erased this easily? If I could invent a pen called ”I’m sorry,” that would magically erase relationship mistakes; I would be a millionaire. Wouldn’t it be great to just erase all the moments we open our mouths and spill ugliness on someone else? I don’t know about you all but spilling ugliness on other people is a far more frequent occurrence in my life than staining my clothes. The times I have to say, “I’m sorry” and “Will you forgive me?” could fill volumes.
And God knows, I do not want to spill ugliness on the people I love. I want to be kind and generous and curious about who they are and how I can be a positive part of their lives. And then I open my mouth. And I dump verbal hot coffee on them. And I wish I had a magic pen to erase what I just said. I want to dropmy eyes and hunt for the pen in my purse because I’m embarrassed about what I’ve said (or done).
Just the other night, I could see the surprise and pain on my husband’s face when I said something that was uncalled for; where was that damn pen when I needed it? Since I’m clearly not a millionaire, the pen is not a reality. So, I did the stain removal the hard way. I humbled myself, embraced my brokenness and faced up to what I had done to him. I said, “I’m sorry” out loud. I asked for forgiveness and opened myself up to his hurt and anger. And I hoped he would forgive me and be willing to stay close to me. (He did and he was willing-hurray!).
I know that being vulnerable and open when I screw up is the best way to build solid relationships and I love having greater intimacy as the end result of asking for forgiveness and being forgiven. But you know, that pen idea sure is tempting.