Monday, September 24, 2007

Saying "I'm Sorry" Too Much

So a few days ago I posted about tshuvah: doing it right next time, atoning, repenting, etc. Today, I know what "I'm sorry" sounds like, and I'm not sure I like it.

Last night, on the way down a friend's front walk, in the dark, I tripped and fell down 4 concrete steps. Yes, ouch. I got booboos on my knees, my palms and my pride. I fell awkwardly because I was carrying my new iphone (purchased before the price went down, I know, I know, but I already got the rebate) and wanted to protect it.

I went down with a loud oof.

My husband and son rushed over, and what did the sweet little boy say?

I'm sorry, Ima. I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry.

I do appreciate the empathy, as much as empathy can register with an almost 3 year old. I do think there was some real empathy there, since he knows what it is like to fall (a lot). He was expressing, deep down, some kind of empathetic ouch.

But most of all what worries me is the use of "I'm sorry." In this penitential season, I wonder, do we say we're sorry too much? Has it lost its meaning?

We say we're sorry when we bump into someone, when we mean excuse me.
We say we're sorry when we interrupt someone, when we shouldn't interrupt at all.
We say we're sorry when we have a question, to preface it, when we should just ask.
We say we're sorry when we don't know the words to say, when we should think for a minute and find the right words.

Maybe we should say we're sorry more when we really do mean it, when we really do empathize. I'm taking a lesson from my son.

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