Friday, January 28, 2011

Boggle and Life

I did it! Yesterday I found an eight-letter word in Boggle!

If you’re not familiar with Boggle, it’s a game where you have three minutes to make words based on the letters in front of you after shaking them up. Typically, you’re able to find 3 or 4 letter words (worth 1 point each) – occasionally a 5 or 6 letter word (2 and 3 points each) and maybe once in a while a 7-letter word (5 points). Eight-letter words are so rare that you get 11 points for them.

I was so thrilled! It wasn’t something I expected but there it was right in front of me: t-o-r-r-e-n-t-s.

Isn’t this true of life too? We’re just minding our own business, plodding along, doing what we need to do, and all of a sudden - seemingly out of nowhere - something wonderful happens. We find that eight-letter word. Our child gives us a wonderful compliment. We have a euphoric connection with our spouse. Everything makes sense and we feel so much joy we could burst.

It doesn’t happen all the time. We go for long periods of time finding only 3 and 4 letter words. Sometimes we’re happy to find any words. But we don’t give up. We keep going. We keep trying. We learn to find satisfaction in little things – even just knowing that we’re doing what we need to be doing.

No, it doesn’t happen all the time. Perhaps, if it did it would be too much for us to handle – too torrential! But when it does happen – when we do get that wonderful compliment, when we do feel that euphoric connection, when we find that eight-letter word - it puts a little extra spring in our step and we know that every once in while, when we’re least expecting it, something wonderful can happen!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Power of Apology

Jill arrived at our counseling session a few minutes before her husband, who was stuck in traffic. While we were waiting Jill made an interesting comment. “Maybe I just need to apologize to him but I don’t know what for.”

Giving a sincere apology is a challenge for many people. I think one of the problems many of us have is that we look at an apology primarily as an admission of guilt rather than as a healing balm to the relationship.

The truth is, it really isn’t so important who is right and who is wrong. What is important is that there is a wound that needs to be healed and an apology is a wonderful way (often needful way) to begin that healing process. To effectively use the healing balm of an apology, we need to first swallow our pride and let go of the need to be right. We need to not be so concerned about protecting our own ego as we are of removing the wedge that is interfering with our having a strong, close, loving relationship. A sincere, heartfelt apology can do that.

And as we look at apology in this way, of course we will not limit how often we apologize, thinking somehow we’ve apologized “enough”.
Instead we will look at saying “I’m sorry” in a similar way that we look at saying “I love you”. They are both words of caring, of healing, of connecting, of bonding.

Jill did apologize to her husband once she understood this. She found the words and didn’t worry about “what for”. She began the healing process.