The reunion chat among high school mates was very different. In the conversation at hand, the nearest person lives 12 times zones away from where the school was located. I was a fun observer, a school alumnus from an earlier era. The setting was so familiar. The antics, staff behaviors, and conversation could have easily been mine. I had been there, except I was not.
As we got into relationships, a quiet bombshell came out of the blue. A single phrase, uttered long after high school, between two individuals had created a rift between formerly close friends. The break was not thirty plus years old. For one party, it was a comment shared with the best of intentions. In many ways, it was a young man’s expression of love and compassion. In almost any situation, the positive remark would have been taken with a smile and gently forgotten.
In this case, it became an irrevocable expression of interest and love. It also crossed an invisible boundary and violated the code between most men. You do not express interest in another’s friend, even if you later move on. Ironically, we are talking about a single phrase expressed more than three decades ago! The person who is said to have made the statement does not deny but has no memory. He has clearly moved on, documented by a healthy long-term relationship, successful career, and no follow-up conversations of any kind.
As we laughed about the situation, I was also touched by sadness. I can imagine others hurt by things that I have said. To each, even if I am forgotten, you have my deepest apologies. I wish I could make amends. I realize I am lucky. I know a God that always lets go to hold on. The old worlds are true; “Count yourself lucky – God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.” (Psalm 32.2)
I have said some stupid things in my life. Today I hope I have something good to say. Otherwise, hushing is the best that I can, will do.