Full & Empty

Picture of a gas tank meter at empty

I have been on a very long journey of accepting my humanity and giving myself grace when I make mistakes.

It is not easy.

In the past week, I’ve been careless with my words twice and (albeit unintentionally) hurt two people who I think the world of.

In both cases, I was too tired to choose the best words to convey my actual feelings, and ended up saying nearly the opposite of what I meant.

In both cases, the people I hurt were gracious and generous with me, giving me an opportunity to take responsibility, right the wrong as best I could, and forgiving me in love.

I consider myself lucky in this, that their call-ins were quick, allowing me to respond and express what I meant and how sorry I was.

I know impact and intent are not the same thing. I know that responsibility and restoration are possible.

I am grateful for grace.

I also am trying to (without self-flagellation) learn from these situations.

Here’s what I’ve learned today:

  1. I am doing too much. It makes me tired and rushed, and that leads to carelessness with words. Words are important. They can damage relationships and hurt people. So when I am tired and rushed, it is better, sometimes, to be silent, or to carefully reread when I am fresher, because my words deserve my time, as do the people I’m in community with.
  2. I still carry deep trauma of times I was not allowed to explain myself, when someone I cared about did not believe me when I apologized. Or of times that I said something hurtful and couldn’t repair the damage done. Because of this, making these types of mistakes will ALWAYS bring some level of remembrance. It is deep and hard, but my mistakes don’t have to define me, and they actually don’t to most people.
  3. I can grow and learn to forgive myself, particularly when I know I have done what I can to repair the situation. I can also do better and pause when I see this happening more than once in a short period of time.

I am learning that I have a responsibility to speak with care because people are listening. That is a lot but it is also a privilege, one that I must remember to use judiciously and with my full presence.

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