Honestly, I feel real sorrow and true regret for how I treated you for so many years. I will not make a big to-do out of this but allow me to extend my sincere apology.
I’m not the same guy that was so callous and unforgiving but that doesn’t mean the damage is gone. I can probably come up with a dozen excuses for being the selfish and destructive man I once was, but no one wants to hear excuses. I hope you can forgive me one day.
For many years I took more than my share, gave less than I should, hurt people’s feelings, did not value their time, made a mess of relationships, and generally wasted my footprint on the planet. I am grateful those days are long gone but I often wish they had not happened at all.
“Have you noticed that an angry man can only get so far, until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be with the way things are?” – Don Henley, “My Thanksgiving”
Some time ago I was shown a different way of living. A way that encourages me to give instead of take, help instead of be helped, serve instead of be served, bring order to chaos, and offer peace in place of conflict. I came to see that I could, in small part, contribute to the solution instead of the problem.
“I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller
These days I try to be a better friend to the world, the people near me, and to God. I cannot make up for all that I’ve done, or my apathy for the welfare of others. And I will surely fail at some things when I try to do good for others, but I will try anyway. Perhaps someone’s burden will be lightened along the way.
I want to express my gratitude for the grace and patience and forgiveness of those who have been a part of the journey. Being the humble people you are, you most likely didn’t even think about it. But I have thought about it a lot.
You see, it has been through your kindness that I saw the kindness of my Father. It was your patience that showed me how to practice waiting. When you spent your time on me, I noticed, and I was awed by your generosity. You poured love and grace and mercy on me, and I knew I didn’t deserve it. Because I saw His goodness in you, I was able to see His goodness toward me. The hardness around my heart was pierced, and that – as they say – was the beginning. And I am eternally grateful.
“Gratitude: action resulting from appreciation for what one has been given.”