This evening I was surprised by an apology from 15 years past.
Sitting alone at a musical performance at a church in Brampton, I glimpsed out of the the corner of my eye a man I knew from my school days. Growing up we attended church together, and also the same middle school. He had strayed from the path of faith and religion before high school, and I hadn't heard anything about him since.
When the performance ended I smiled at him, intending to make a dash out the door (as I generally do - to avoid the terrifying act of small talk) He returned my smile and made his way over to me. "It's good to see you," I spoke, genuinely, wondering if I could muster anything else. But the conversation took a quick, unexpected turn:
"I want to apologize for the way I treated you in grade eight."
My mind raced, and yet I could remember no offense from this man. I have been blessed with a terrible memory and an quick to forgive manner, and so although I could not recall anything specific, I knew that very likely I could have been the object of his taunting. Middle school was not very enjoyable for me overall. I thanked him honestly for the apology. I noted how just this afternoon I had been contemplating my own actions and behaviours as a teenager, struck by the intense selfishness of that age. I myself had been wondering who I might have hurt or offended by my thoughtless (though unintentional) ways. But although I had been wondering, I had not considered seeking out those I may have hurt and offering the sincere apology I now feel. No, that was left for me to learn as a lesson this evening, through the actions of a man, humbling himself to realize that though the sting is more than a decade in the past, his repentant nature brought him to offer an apology to me anyway.
And so, this evening I am also humbled, praying that I, too, will take the opportunity in hand, should it be presented to me, to offer my own sincere regret for selfish actions of long ago.