How do you ease your conscience?
November 5, 2019

If you joined Darrell and Katie and me for dinner sometime, you’d have a good time. Promise. We are engaged. We laugh, we challenge each other, we change our minds, we meander this way and that and before you know it two hours have gone by and…what was it we were talking about again?

When Katie was little her birthday parties were a highlight of the whole school year. That’s because we rented a big room at a local hotel. It was just off the swimming pool and a dozen or more girls spent the night together eating ice cream cone cupcakes and swimming and sleeping a little in that mountain of sleeping bags. I’ll never forget watching one little girl watch Katie and me. I could tell she wanted with her mother what Katie and I had. Maybe she even told me that. But we knew.

It broke my heart.

Everyone who got to know Katie as she grew up loved her. Nothing unusual about that. But given how visible Darrell and I had been in the community before that with our radio work, it seemed like everyone in town felt like they knew us. Katie’s been gone for more than six years and if I got out more I’d spend my whole life updating people. Good people, sweet people. It’s just that (1) I’m an introvert, and (2) I don’t have that kind of time.

I slip into automatic answers as a defense mechanism sometimes. “Yes, you saw me out running the other day.” “Yes, we’re still on the radio.” “Yes, Katie’s still in New York.” I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t want to spend more time updating people than living. Sometimes it’s one or the other.

The other day I mistook a real sweetheart, and someone who was once a pal, for the generic stranger wanting gossip for the mill. She was at the end of our driveway and I didn’t realize who she was until it was too late. My answer to her question told her I was hoping she and I could both get on with our day. I almost wanted to run after her to make amends. It gnawed at me overnight.

So I wrote her a letter to apologize, had Darrell bless it, mailed it -- and hoped she’d forgive me.

What else can you do?