“Surely it is a welcome event when one who has injured you owns up to having done so and sincerely expresses sorrow and regret for his deeds.”
I would add that this is a rare event as well as a welcome one. How often do we own up to our mistakes big or small? Again, it reminds me of the lawsuit with my mother. It took years for the discovery team to find out what really happened and that was because all along the hospital tried to conceal it. Only when the mother in law of the doctor who injured her called the lead attorney involved with my mother’s case did they know the truth; that the doctor was in and out of rehab for years, and yet allowed back onto the floor where she had to work with the very drugs she was addicted to. Once that information was confirmed the hospital finally conceded that the doctor had a problem saying they were trying to help her by asking her to go through rehab. To this day the doctor is employed as an anesthesiologist only in a different state. Desmond Tutu once said, “I will forgive you if you take my pen, but only if you give it back.” How often can we admit to our mistakes and shortcomings? Even as a child when I took my sisters clothing and was caught I denied it. That was a small infraction, yet there were many others. It is uncomfortable to own up to our human failings. On a small scale perhaps there are no consequences on a grand scale when we have hurt someone it is necessary and essential for the hurt party to have the wrong acknowledged. Does it always result in getting one’s pen back? Unfortunately, no, but if we can offer some consolation we should. If I return my sisters clothing with an apology for taking them it is better than just returning them in silence. In this way, my sister feels validated. A wrong was committed, as small as it was, and in this instance I have the ability to make it right. With my mother’s legs the same was not possible. I remember her saying, “I do not want anything from the lawsuit, but enough to pursue the therapy necessary to restore my leg function.” She wanted her pen back or wanted to try to get it if it were at all possible. The lawsuit was a frustration to them because not only would she never walk again, there was no apology, no assumption of responsibility for the failings of the doctor and the hospital’s bad judgement. The use of her legs would not have resulted, yet I am sure on a human level she would have felt validated, even if she thought, well this does nothing, I am left with the same result and will never walk again. When a person admits the wrong there is a deep psychological impact. When it is done in a sincere and sorrowful way there is even hope.