Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day at the River


Spending the day at the river with good friends. Beautiful, impromptu.
Oh, and I learned a little something.

There is a rope swing that teens and big folks use to swing out over a deep spot and drop into the cold water. XuMei blew me away when she decided she too was swinging into the water. ChrisC had to lift her up to reach the rope. I was lounging far away from the event and caught this poor shot with the new-ish (to me) camera. ChrisC is standing just above the sunny, sandy section in the shadows, having just let go of XuMei. XuMei is the squiggly flesh colored (thanks Marley for loaning her monkey swimsuit) wiggle below the barely visible rope in the center of the photo. I ran across the rocks in joy and excitement hooting and hollering like a proud mama banshee, unknowingly slicing my foot on the sharp rocks. I hugged her shivering wet body and helped her to reach the rope again. Let me tell you, I was SCARED on that ledge----vertigo-city. I would be hard pressed to go swinging out over that water and drop at the right moment. Luckily Marley wasn't able to loan me a monkey suit that I could squeeze into so I had that as my excuse!
XuMei swung and dropped 2 more times.
And I wasn't able to get a decent shot of it!

Later I apologized to XuMei for not being able to get the camera to work--for missing this incredible moment.
XuMei, "I don't know why you're saying you're sorry, I am not mad. You must be saying sorry to yourself. You must be mad at yourself."
She hopped off the bench we were sharing and went to make "sand angels".
Truer words were never spoken.
Yup, yet again, it is me that is doing the learning or un-learning as it were.
I used to say sorry a lot. For a lot of things. Things that weren't my responsibility. My Aunt Rose tried and failed to break me of this annoying habit. It wasn't until I had young children and discussions of "making" a child apologize to another came up and I really started thinking about the nature of apology.
Later, I saw Randy Pausch's "last lecture series" and he defined a true apology. If you haven't seen this lecture--see it, watch it now. Here is the 10 minute Oprah condensed version. If you have an hour watch this one--it is so worth it. He is a bit un-schooley and I like his definition of an apology. It made sense to me. And for the record:
No, you cannot "make" anyone apologize.
You can force, threaten, bribe and cajole someone into saying words--but they are just words, and while words can be important, in the case of a forced apology--they lack intention. No one can force another person to feel regret or anything for that matter.
We all, each moment, choose our feelings. And yesterday, on that bench, I was choosing to feel guilty about not getting a photo of XuMei swinging with joy and abandon into the cool green water of Mary's River. And I was asking her to absolve me of that guilt. Not her Job. She knew that and now I do too.
(p.s. --I'll get that darn pic of her next time, and I might jump in with her too!)

1 comment:

Linda said...

I do the sorry thing too. I try to only use it when meaning "I regret this," or "I feel sad about this." Or, obviously, when I've actually done something to hurt someone. But I slip up a lot.

I've been following Randy's saga here: http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/news/index.html

Last time I checked in was June. I'm so sorry to hear he's died. Somehow it felt like he was just going to keep beating it forever. He was quite a guy.