I hate being imperfect and dealing with my imperfections, especially when they affect others. I hate hurting people's feelings. I hate realizing how short I fall and how this will never really change. I hate that apologizing is hard. I hate that words can hurt others so much--and that you can't take them back. You can apologize, but like with a fire, you can never completely undo the damage.
At lunch today with coworkers I made an ugly comment; I said that my (younger) boss was "selling himself as X but that I had never thought of him that way" and other words to that effect. It just came out all wrong. I realized through the course of the conversation that what he meant by X and what I meant by X were two different things and that his identity was very much wrapped up in being X. I wasn't sure if I had hurt his feelings, but I was certain I had done something wrong and that it needed to be addressed today. I've sat in my office since lunch not wanting to deal with this, wondering if I was making a mountain out of a molehill and should just let it slide, and feeling convicted that I needed to get up and deal with it. My boss just left, and I finally spoke to him as he was leaving.
It was hard and uncomfortable, and my eyes filled up with tears. He was gracious and said he was certain that it had been a miscommunication--and that his reaction was more a result of some extraneous matters, which I took to mean that he had (rightfully) been bothered by what I said and had been thinking about it. He said he appreciated me speaking to him about it, and I am grateful that I cleared the air--at least as much as possible.
I'm glad my value is not in my perfection. I'm glad that I'm slowly learning to speak less and listen more. I'm glad that I find myself in situations like the one this afternoon less than I once did. I'm glad that I realized that what I said was ugly and that my apology was well received. I'm glad that I'm redeemed and forgiven.
p.s. I'm grateful for the delicious cheeseburger I ate last night at J. Alexander's (and the lovely company).