It was starting to look like a bad day.
I’d arrived unannounced on a friend’s doorstep on Saturday morning to ask a favour. The original plan had been to stop in at the office to send the e-mail I’d killed the laptop battery composing, then leave my knapsack full of electronics at the office while the bike and I went camping for the weekend. Standing outside the locked building 55 km from home and running late, I realized I’d forgotten the keys. The e-mail would have to wait, but I needed a safe place to leave my pack. I looked at my friend with pleading eyes. “Would you mind?”
She came through like a hero, not only promising to babysit my toys, but offering the use of her computer to send out the message so clearly occupying my mind.
Sitting at her computer, trying to remember e-mail addresses and string together the message anew, I was initially annoyed by the distracting presence of her seven-year-old son, firmly in the grips of the “why?” stage. Still, as he peppered me with questions my irritation depleated… there’s something deeply flattering about the adoration of a child. I tried to answer his queries honestly, giving them the attention they deserved.
“Whatcha doin’?” he asked, looking over my shoulder with wide-eyed curiosity.
“Writing an apology,” I replied.
“Why?” came his inevitable response.
I stopped typing to consider my explanation. “Ever do something that seemed like an OK idea at the time, only to have it blow up in your face later?”
He giggled and nodded knowingly, blond hair falling in his eyes.
“Well, that’s what I did,” I returned my attention to the screen, “So now I need to apologize.”
Ever inquisitive, he wasn’t quite satisfied. “What’ll happen if you don’t?” he asked.
Again, I stopped to think. “I guess I’d lose friends.”
His brow furrowed as he gave my predicament serious thought. “But you have other friends, don’t you?”
I smiled at his naïvety. “Yes, but some friends are irreplaceable.”
The little guy didn’t miss a beat this time, offering up a slice of childhood wisdom to ease the complexities of a grown-up world:
“Wouldn’t those friends know you just made a mistake?”
As his words settled upon me, I found I had no argument. I fired off my apology with a lighter heart and ran off to enjoy a weekend of camping.
Having spent the better part of the morning and the previous night seeking peace in forgiveness, who would have imagined that peace would arrive instead wrapped in the questions of a seven-year-old?