There is no better apologizer I know than my husband. He has a way of diffusing a situation with a heartfelt “I’m sorry” at the exact right time, not years later, but on the spot. Yet, he’s also good at reflecting on a situation and saying I’m sorry months later if he feels he was wrong. He’s good at changing a behavior, too, which is true teshuva (repentance). It takes humility to offer a sincere apology and it takes a similar humility and kindness to give forgiveness. It takes all that and more to change.
I’ve asked Bryan through the years how he’s able to do all that, but I don’t know it’s something he can teach or articulate. Still, I’m inspired to learn to do better. With Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) beginning tonight, I’ve been reading lots of recent articles on saying I’m sorry and offering forgiveness. I offer some of my favorites here as something of an apologizing bonanza. I’d say, “enjoy!” but the business of saying I’m sorry is a serious one. So instead I’ll say, I hope these help.
The Messy Business of Atonement by Merri Ukraincik in Hevria
Forgiveness Is Not a Gift You Give Yourself by Marjorie Ingall in Tablet
Sorrywatch.com Speaking of Marjorie Ingall, she writes a great blog with Susan McCarthy called Sorry Watch. They analyze apologies in the news, history, and culture.
The Art And Science Of Apologizing by Jacoba Urist in The Atlantic
The Forgiveness Tour by Susan Shapiro in Salon
For those fasting, I wish you an easy one. Wishing everyone a happy, sweet, successful new year with only good things, or at least tolerable things. (I wrote this a few days ago and scheduled it for Yom Kippur. I’m probably pretty hangry about the time this will go up.)