A letter of apology and gratitude to all.
I neither know nor think that I know.in Plato, Apology 21d
I first wrote this over 9 years ago and then edited and posted it on Medium a year ago. In a world of rapid change, I would expect there to be a need for major edits. There is certainly one major edit in the title. I originally titled this piece “I Now Understand!” as if I had reached some finite moment of clarity. As if I could check some boxes as complete. As if the journey to better understanding is ever finished. Nothing could be farther from the truth then or now.
Do things seem clearer with every passing day and the experiences gained? Yes.
Can I claim to “Now Understand”? Not even close!
Do I still feel the message and apology are relevant and needed? Absolutely!
So the new title was corrected based on this new understanding, with the most important correction being removing the exclamation point. As I reviewed the original post, that exclamation point seemed to slap me in the face. Eight years ago, long past my teen and early adulthood years, I was still shouting with the unwarranted certainty of a rebellious teenager. Don’t get me wrong. I hope always to have a bit of that rebel in me. That unwillingness to accept absolutes or the status quo. But when it comes to certainty — the only certainty is change.
Here is the “remix” of my letter of apology and gratitude for all edited based on 9 additional years of experience in this crazy journey. There are not many edits beyond the title, the insertion of “a little more” throughout the post, and an increase in the world population referenced.
As I shared here, Mom was no longer with us when I posted on Medium, and roughly 9 months later Dad moved on to his next journey. I am grateful my Mom was able to read the original even with my misguided certainty.
To My Mother & Father
I am sorry!
I am sorry for any and everything I have ever put you through. Any worry, any pain, anything at all. I now understand a little more that you were doing your best, and everything you did was because you loved me. I understand a little more how little I understood and how unaware I was in my righteous tween, teen, and even early adulthood years. I now understand a little more how clueless I was and, in many ways, still am. How the lenses and perspective I viewed the world through had no understanding of the pressures and challenges you faced as parents, as adults, and as providers for both yourselves and your children. I now understand a little more that you understood in many ways what I was going through, based on your own experiences, as I stood on my pedestal of immense childhood wisdom thinking, “they just don’t understand.”
The only differences between my early world and yours were wrapped in the music of the day, the technology of the day, and the culture of the day. We view this “generation gap” of the cultures as immense and uncrossable when in reality it is quite small and only widened by the foggy perspectives of the two generations in question and their inability to lift the fog and see how we are both playing out the same passage on a slightly different stage.
I love you. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I appreciate every single action you took, knowingly or not, to help me traverse the path from childhood to adulthood. Your every action was out of love, by love, and for love, because that is the fuel for this thing called life. You were growing and traversing the precarious journey of life as you tried to guide me as well. You only had the culmination of your experiences to guide you. Dependent on the book of law, any one individual may adhere to they may judge some of your actions and condemn them as “wrong” when in the end there is no “wrong” in love. There is only action, and every action can receive a positive reaction if one so chooses. I now understand a little more that you loved me unconditionally, and because of that, I am a better person. Thank You.
To my children (to all children, to everyone)
I am sorry!
I am sorry for any and everything I have or will ever put you through. Any judgment, any pain, anything at all. Please understand that I am doing my best, and everything I do is because I love you. Someday, you will understand how little you understood and how unaware you were in your righteous tween, teen, and even early adulthood years. I must understand a little more how I was just the same at this point in my life journey. The stage and supporting characters were slightly different, but the passage was the same. The lenses and perspective you view the world through have no understanding of the pressures and challenges faced by parents, by adults, by providers for both themselves and their children. As you sit there and think, “they just don’t understand,” — please consider that we have been down this same path on our own journey. Please — BE SKEPTICAL! The path has been worn since we last passed the milestone you are at. The creek we walked across may now have eroded to be a raging river that could sweep you away to unknown danger if you were to cross as we did. There are parts of this journey that are unique to you, and we must be aware of that fact. But please also — LEARN TO LISTEN! We traveled this path and may want you to take a different direction than we did because we love you and don’t want you to face the cliff ahead that we encountered on our journey. Conversely, we have to be open to the fact that you may either enjoy the challenge of that cliff, or it may not even exist anymore.
We live in a world of 7.753 billion souls and perspectives. Each perspective is built on accumulating their (limited when considering the whole) experience and “knowledge.” None of them is either “right” or “wrong.” Unfortunately, (from my perspective, which is neither right nor wrong) means you will face 1000’s or more of these 7.753 billion judges. Each tries to force their bias and perspective on the other 7,752,999,999 souls. Most are not trying to force their perspective out of tyrannical desires but actually out of love, corrupted and conditional love, but love nonetheless. Be skeptical. Learn to listen, but never take their words personally. They are only one perspective out of 7.753 billion. I intend not to judge you, not to force my bias or perspective on you, not to make you follow my exact path. I intend to guide you as best I can by sharing my experiences to do as you wish. Since I am just as fallible as the next, and because I love you and worry about you, it will most likely sound like judgment and bias. Please know that my love for you is unconditional, and I never mean to judge you, and I will also never judge myself based on your or anyone else’s limited experience.
I love you. I appreciate everything about you. I know you are doing your best. Your every action will have a reaction that may be positive or negative depending on both your and the perspective of anyone else involved. My hopes and wishes for you are that you find the awareness always to find a positive reaction to every action you are faced with.
Your Son — Your Father —Your Step-Father — Your Friend — Your Fellow Soul
What’s your perspective? Whose words have you used against yourself? Who might you enjoy apologizing to?