By Amy McCollom
The movie Love Story got it wrong. Love doesn’t mean “never having to say your sorry,” as the quote goes. Not by a long shot. Love is very far from that.
Love is an apology. In word and in deed, our love for others and for ourselves should always be well-seasoned with an ample helping of humbleness and humility.
This time of year, the last part of February, brings to memory the final days I spent with my dad before he passed away on February 25, 2019. Anyone who knew my dad will tell you that he was a good, and loving, man. He showed his love in a lot of great ways like doing things for others, stepping up when others stepped away, and always having a sense of humor. He loved kids and animals too; that says a lot about a person right there.
Even when he knew he had little time left on this earth, he was still showing and sharing his love. When he got the diagnosis of his impending death, we asked him what he would like to do before he died. Did he want to go somewhere special or see something he had never seen? Did he want to eat something or try something new? Climb a mountain, go sky-diving, swim with dolphins, go to Australia? We loved him so much we would have made any of his wishes happen, no matter what. That is what you do when you love someone. Funny thing though, his only wish was to just spend time with us, his family.
My dad apologized for so many things. He spent his time getting things off of his heart and his mind, and clearing out all the cobwebs of his memory. He dealt with regrets and made right any wrongs he felt were made. He spent a lot of time reading the Bible, listening to preaching, and enjoying gospel music. He shared with me so many words of wisdom, heartfelt hopes he had for me, and quiet times when we said nothing at all.
As the time of his dying came closer and closer, the hardest thing I had to hear my dad say was an apology that was so unselfish and love-filled that it still makes me weak in the knees when I think about it. My dad said he was sorry for dying in the winter time and having everyone have to be outside in the cold. He really felt bad about that. He hated to be a bother to anyone, and if he could have, he would have dug his own grave just to have taken the burden off of other people. That is the kind of man he was. He never wanted to inconvenience anyone.
I told him he didn’t have to be sorry for that. It wasn’t his choice to die in the winter, and everyone who loved him wouldn’t mind the cold and snow, but he didn’t want to put anyone in discomfort. He was a kind-hearted soul.
I really should have told my dad I was sorry a lot more than I did. I told him I loved him, but saying sorry would have meant more I believe. In the end, my dad said he didn’t have anything against anyone, and I believe him. He was at peace, and it illuminated him.
That is the best thing about apologies; they free you from the bondage of past mistakes and hurt feelings. More than anything else, I want to be like that. I want to reside in that freedom and live a humble unselfish life without having anything against anyone. Dad settled up and did it right.
Losing my dad has changed me. I say I’m sorry a lot more often now. I tell my family I love them, too. I try never to hold anything against anyone, and to see people through the eyes of Jesus. I think deeper thoughts and see beyond the surface of situations now. I’m also less selfish and more empathetic towards others. I have learned that it’s not that hard to apologize when I am wrong anymore.
Love is saying you are sorry. Love also is forgiving. The two work together to completely heal a broken heart.
So as I finish this series on Love Is, let me end by saying that the Bible states that God is love, and love can look like all these other things I described in my previous columns, and more. I hope these last few columns I have written gave you something to think about. Stay safe. Until next time, keep holding it all together.