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A Space Beyond, "I'm Sorry"

07/10/2013 09:47

There are stories of various cultures being described as “friendly.”  How great is it when you travel to another country or geographical area & have that instant feeling of being welcome there.  And isn’t it a lovely feeling when the area that you live within is that way by nature too.

When you listen to how others tend to describe Canadians, you are prone to hear descriptors like, “friendly, welcoming, peaceful, and unassuming” to mention a few.  It tends to be a land where folks are helpful & welcoming to others.  How heartwarming to hear true stories of Canadians opening up their homes & hearts to others.  September had me thinking about a profoundly heroic Canadian & that is Terry Fox.  Last year it was an honour to watch his life story on film.  Along his journey while running across Canada, Terry found himself in a small village in Newfoundland.  The “Easterners” happily opened up their homes to Terry we see in the movie & found ways to do so much more to support him on his journey of hope.  The movie depicted something far beyond hospitality.  What we got to see was the welcome of someone new into our lives as if they were our family.  It is almost like being expected to show up or an “oh there you are & we are glad you are here safely” feeling.

My Grandpa Brown was an Eastern through & through.  Although he had moved ultimately to Ontario for most of his life, he brought the Eastern welcome with him.  And he passed that on to all of his children.  Grandpa had a heart far more precious than gold, a joyful laugh, a welcome like none other & a way of letting you know that you were the world to him.  On his last birthday with us, I got to bake his birthday cake.  When the candles were lit & the cake was set in front of him, you would have gotten the impression that he had been presented with a winning lotto prize.  He was so genuinely appreciative & so happy with his day.  His day was one of simple pleasures.  He was surrounded by his large, bold family all around his & Grandma’s kitchen table.  Jokes would abound about me having to sit yet again next to a “leftie” around a crowded table & Grandpa always challenged all the grandkids to try to eat the next bite without bending our elbows.  To be heard, you had to talk over one another yet somehow that was just right & the smile that was on Grandpa’s face to this day remains in my heart forever.  One of his favourite things to say to me was, “you know Saundie, I think that you are the bee’s knees.”  When I was very young, I would picture what bee’s knees actually looked like.  Also, I was always trying to conquer the maneuver of eating without bending my elbows.  Grandpa had Eastern welcome in spades.  My heart’s hope is that I too received some of that welcome to pass on to others.  Grandpa was the absolute best at this though.

My Mom received so very much of Grandpa’s welcoming nature.  She is one of the few people that I know that can share an old fashioned home cooked meal for 15-20 people with either little or no notice.  It is like she is expecting you.  With 3 growing & hungry grandsons, she has a bigger challenge yet all joking aside, she has Grandpa’s welcome & gift of turning a meal into a time of treasured memories when all our extended family gets together.  And she & Grandma always happen to have a homemade pie or many to top a delicious meal off with.  I can almost taste that Georgian Bay apple pie right now!

Going in a different direction now with our thoughts, there is one tendency that Canadians have at times been prone to.  Maybe you share this tendency?  I know I do & I am a “work in progress” as far as dialing my tendency back for this one goes.  I am talking about saying “I’m Sorry” too much.  Yikes, I admit that I am on autopilot as far as those two words go.  Someone can say that they are disappointed literally about the weather & automatically, I find myself starting off my response as “I’m sorry.”  Someone profoundly dear to me pointed out a few years ago that I say” I’m sorry” too much.  He told me that when a person says I’m sorry too much that it loses its meaning when we then apologize for something bigger.  He pointed out that I was wearing out the words, “I’m sorry.”  Like I said, it is a work in progress yet I have made some great progress with this & I am grateful to have had my Dear Heart point this out to me so that I could make some progress.

Do you know when I started to make some regression in terms of the “I’m sorry” again though?  It was shortly after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Maybe you have found that this has happened to you as well if you have diabetes or another “365” challenge.  I found myself saying that I was sorry when I was not feeling well or if I was even in a low or high blood sugar especially if it meant that I could not participate in something that someone wanted me to do right then & there.  I would apologize for having a sick day or having to make scheduling changes due to health challenges.  I apologized for not eating the same foods like others that I was with or bringing some contributions to meals that others were making.  And I apologized when my pump alarms went off.  That went on for a good 2 or more of those first 2 years with type 1 diabetes.  Then my Dear Heart reminded me about the overuse of the words, “I’m sorry” again.  He also went on to say that I should not be sorry for things that are outside of my control like my low battery pump alarms & high & low blood sugars & sick days with diabetes.  He pointed out that that is absurd.  I realized that inadvertently I had been “beating myself up.”  I decided to stop doing that.  Now an apology means something again thankfully.  Let’s face it too that it is easier to stand up straight when you have a backbone.  Having stopped the internal verbal beating up on myself, my backbone is strong again.  So the weather & traffic jams & diabetes are not my fault & they are not yours either. 

I have found that what works best for me is to replace one habit with a better one vs simply trying to give up a habit that is not serving me well.  Here’s my thought, my replacement of being sorry for things that are outside my control is to take a big page out of Grandpa’s book & be more welcoming instead.  So when I feel myself about to say “I’m sorry” for things like my diabetes, I choose to catch myself fast & instead say, “Hey, come for tea!”

Here’s an example of a win this morning.  This morning my insulin pump alarm went off at the worst possible time.  Instead of turning red, breaking out in simultaneous apologies & a cold sweat, I simply smiled.  I did not apologize nor explain nor behave in any other way than an alarm is not unexpected.  I would not go so far as to say that my alarm was welcome, but I chose to be “okay” with it going off.  Afterwards no one even mentioned it & neither did I.  Instead, I invited some Dear Hearts to tea.

My heart’s hope for you is that you are every bit as welcoming to yourself as you are to others.  Let’s make our apologies count for something & our welcomes be huge!

Smiles,  Saundie :)

May you feel welcome everywhere you are this whole week & next weeks sharing is, "Pop Quizzes & Forgiveness in Absentia."    :)