Sunday, February 02, 2014

An Apology

1953 6th grade class operetta - me- back row left
my friend Bill B. second from right first row



"Hey Ron,
I owe you an apology. Our pastor is doing a series on forgiveness and I thought about our last conversation whereas I said that someday people may marry their pets.  I said that because who knows what will happen in the future?  As Pastor Lee said this morning, "Give thanks that we can meet openly. Someday that may not be the case." It wasn't a comment due to a threat, or to scare anyone. It was a comment because, really, we don't know. 
The conviction that I should apologize to you is from Romans 12:18. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  I offer the olive branch to you. I'm sorry that I offended you by my comment and ask for your forgiveness.
Best regards,

Bill"

A few weeks ago, during a casual conversation wit my longtime (since first grade, 1947) friend Bill B. (not to be confused with my spouse Bill K.), he casually made a remark in reference to my marriage to Bill K.:  "What's next? Marrying your pet?"

Bill and me from a class reunion committee a few years back

He didn't say this in malice or anger but just an offhand, "less than", denigrating remark.  I truly don't believe he realized how insulting and hurtful his remark was to me. 

After he made his offhand remark trivializing my marriage as something like a "fad of the moment", it took me a few moments as our conversation continued on other subjects to say "Bill, do you realize you just insulted me?  Did you hear what you just said to me?  You're equating my marriage with human beings marrying animals?" 

Bill, who as I said I've known for a long time, didn't understand what I was upset about.  He said "Ron, there are people who believe that."  

I said to him "Does that make it right?  The Klu Klux Klan believed that blacks should be kept down too.  Does that make it right?"

Folks, my longtime friend really didn't understand my consternation.  I told him "Don't you remember what happened to your former senator (Rick Santorum, my friend is from Pennsylvania) who equated same sex marriage with 'man on beast'.  Where is he now?"  

Bill and me 50th class reunion - 2009

Bill, like most of my friends, is a longtime conservative, self-satisfied, every Sunday church going Republican who NEVER admit they're wrong even when they know they're wrong, actually sent me an e-mail today apologizing.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  

Reading the e-mail, I'm still not quite sure he's apologizing for being wrong but for saying what he said.  I think in his heart he still believes that I am "less than" the equivalent of his societal acceptable heterosexual marriage.   

Me at Bill's house enjoying a mutual glass of box wine

However, I do appreciate that he places some value on our friendship and has actually offered his apology, such as it is.  Sometimes even I am surprised.

Here is my reply to my friends apology e-mail:

"Thank you Bill. I was and have been upset. We've been friends too long to let something like this affect our friendship.

I believe that friends can have differing opinions but still remain friends. But when my marriage with Bill, which is recognized by law in Delaware and the United States as equal is trivialized as marrying an animal, I have no other choice than to be highly offended and hurt. 

I accept your apology."

Ron

And the beat goes on.


12 comments:

  1. Apologies go a long way toward repairing the future.

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    1. Geo,,
      I know his apology isn't totally sincere but I'm willing to move on. He doesn't want to lose our friendship nor do I.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,
    I agree with you that accepting Bill's apology can allow you to continue the friendship. My question: Do you feel that the friendship is the same as it way before the remarks or is it just a little bit different? Would you have reached out to him in the future if the email and apology had not come? I am not trying to stir a hornets nest, just it's been my personal experience that when someone with whom I have had a close friendship with hurts me and the apology is extended, I will accept the apology. The bond will not be broken but it will have a little crack in it that will permanently exist. I feel from reading your post that the apology might not have been forthcoming had the pastor not preached the word. I can forgive but not forget which might be a character flaw on my part. This is just my 2 cents.

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    1. Jack,
      I'm just like you in this respect. I'll accept his apology but there is definitely a crack in our friendship. Even though I've known him most of my life our friendship can never be quite the same because I know deep down in his heart he doesn't consider my marriage the equal of his. He is just apologizing because his pastor suggested it. He's doing the "Christian" thing. You know, "Love the sinner, hate the sin" meaningless mantra?
      I also have that character flaw that I can forgive but I can never forget. Never. I wish I could but it's just not in my makeup. I read that Scorpios like me are like that. We have the memory of an elephant when we're slighted or hurt.
      Ron

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  3. Ron,
    I hit the publish button before I was through writing. I was just curious as to whether I should be a little more forgiving with those close to me, I am going through a situation right now that is similar to your situation with your friend Bill.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      If you don't mind, send me an e-mail about the situation you're going through now that is similar to mine. Of course no names need be mentioned.
      Ron

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  4. Nowadays it seems that very few people take the time to extend an apology. Your friend Bill should be applauded for that. Hey, I like all those Valentine teddy bears in your header photo! The sixth grade operetta photo is cute - but the makeup you kids were wearing is rather unnerving.......(*smile*)

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    1. Jon,
      I cannot remember the last time someone apologized to me. I do applaud my friend Bill for apologizing even though I think he's just apologizing in reaction to his pastor's sermon of yesterday. I think he still thinks my marriage isn't as valid as his.
      I loved that sixth grade operetta. I was thrilled to be asked to participate and about the makeup, I remember the smell of it so well. They slathered that greasepaint on us. I LOVED that smell. I was thrilled because as young kids we were asked to do something, to participate and we were treated special. This was one of the few times in my growing up years that I felt special and accepted. I have never forgotten it.
      Ron

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  5. I am glad this happened. I try to counsel people all the time we can't go blowing off people with whom we have fights or hurt our feelings. In time we are going to hurt each other for we are lousy at making others happy. The strength of a relationship is how one handles the hurts.

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    1. Dr. Spo,
      While I don't believe my friend's apology is totally sincere and he is just reacting to his pastor's sermon about forgiveness; our friendship is stronger than his non hostile ignorance of the validity of my marriage. I realize that it is hard if not almost impossible for some people to overcome a lifetime of being brainwashed to thinking one way. However, I do value my friendship with him and by his apology (and I've never known him to apologize for anything in his entire life) he has shown me that he values my friendship in spite of his lack of understanding of the equality of my marriage to his. My friend Bill has always gone with the Majority Herd in his life and I would be very surprised if he changed this late in the game.
      Ron

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  6. accept, but go cautiously forward.

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    1. You're right Anne Marie.

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