by Sistah Shoop


Sistah Shoop watched as her friend offered up an apology to the young boy.  She listened as the words “I’m sorry.” were spoken.  They seemed empty and meaningless, nothing of any substance behind them.  It wasn’t the first time she had heard this simple turn of phrase offered and she was sure it would not be the last.

Making amends was about more than just speaking the words, Shoop felt.  Any one could just say ‘I’m sorry’, but what or where in this act of atonement would make it truly mean something?  How far have we strayed from following through beyond the words, she wondered and is there anyone still alive that understands the making of amends?  When did we stop or cut back on this act?  Asking, ‘What can I do?’ and stepping forward to do whatever we could to really fix what we stand in apology over.  When did we start accepting merely the words as all one need stand accountable for?

Sistah Shoop thought she might not have to apologize quite as often if she actually followed through the entire process.  Sometimes nothing more than words would be required, but there were other times when making right a situation might require compassion, empathy, love, and a helping hand governed purely by one’s heart.  The young boy needed a hug and his head rubbed.  Sistah Shoop did not mind being a surrogate for her friend, but the young boy would have better understood what had happened to him if Ms. Mess had simply stepped out from behind her words.  And there also stood a chance he would see just exactly how making amends was suppose to happen and someday perhaps get a step or two away from his own words by helping to put right what he had done.

Shoop shook her head knowing that life’s pace today kept folks from slowing up, paying attention and taking responsibility for their messes.  She also thought the weight of an apology today could be measured in ounces.  And it would remain this way until the person owed the apology started speaking up on his or her own behalf.

She thought about Ms. Mess’s philosophy ‘forgiveness is easier than permission’.  She understood it and every once in awhile practiced it.  But if making amends truly meant something, would the act of being sorry and seeking forgiveness be easier than just doing what was right?  Shoop couldn’t say for certain one way or the other, but deep down she felt that a good apology required a little more to it than just two empty and meaningless words.

Shoop 08/2003

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