Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This moment, more than any other, remains my greatest regret. I feel that I have lost much because of it.

I drew this picture. Black marker on lined, white school paper. It accentuates all of his worst features, and has been drawn with an unfortunate accuracy. My dark gift. I send a toxic suggestion out into the air. I am not committed to it's execution, but I have masterminded it's conception. The decision is taken away from me. My younger cousin has snatched the picture, and delivers it to the boy's door. He knocks. He runs. No! But it's too late. It can't be undone. I wait with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Minutes later, the boy's father comes to our door. He has tears in his eyes. Why have you done this? My boy is a good boy! What did he do to deserve this? Nothing at all.

Later. Much later, this same boy asks me to accompany him to a Gala. He comes to our door with his mother. This is my moment of redemption. I can see him standing behind her. He is looking at the floor and playing with the hat in his hands. Just say yes and he will only remember this night, and not my horrible sins of the past. Just say yes. But I say no. I am too uncomfortable. I am too proud. I do not go.

Later. Much later. He gives me a smile and a nod every time he sees me. He helps get our car unstuck from the snow. He is a perpetual well of forgiveness and grace.

To my children: Pick what is good and right. It is so hard. You rarely have more than a second to decide. But you will have to decide, one way or another. Pick goodness. Pick grace. Pick mercy. Pick honour. Do not pick yourself. Never pick yourself. There is nothing to be gained in that. But there is so much to lose.