Red Ink and Saying I’m Sorry


Somewhere along the path of life God granted me the ability to quickly apologize when I’ve made a mistake.  I’ve found it a good quality to possess.  This ability to quickly say “I’m sorry, that was my bad,” has served me well over the years, and especially so whenever I have been asked to work as part of a creative team.  The only time I find myself hesitant about offering quick apologies is when I know that person who has witnessed my mistake to be  a mindless I-told-ya-so drone, or when I perceive them to be that “kind” that stores up tidbits from my embarrassing life stumbles and uses them as ammunition at a later time, when there is an audience to witness their bloody assault on my person.

Don’t you just hate that kinda weasel?  They are the worst!

Still, there are times when Mistake will put a dagger in your weasel-y enemy’s hand and quickly draw a target on your back.  In those times, I have learned to smile and keep my lip zipped.

In those times I have done what David did, confessing to God: “Against you, you only, have I sinned…so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge”  Psalm 51:4.

God’s judgements are dripping with grace. They might be fierce and sometimes fast, but they are for my good and meant to correct my course, not merely condemn.

Condemning weasels are the absolute worst!!!

I’m not in the business of supplying ammunition to the enemy forces around me.  Condemning weasels are agents of discord and puppets for the dark king.  I don’t play their games, and I don’t reload their rifles for them.

But back to the point I was making…

This ability I have to apologize quickly is not of my own making.  I believe Papa God helped me to develop the skill when I worked as an advertising director for a chain of retail stores in upstate NY.  I loved the work, which was all about multi-tasking and advertising, but I soon learned that no matter how clean my ad copy, and no matter how focused or on-point my mock-ups, when asked to share them at our weekly marketing meetings they always came back to me dressed in red.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the color red. 

In fact, I think red is my favorite color, but when red is the color of the pen that marks your mistakes, all you want to see is black, white, blue, or green.

After a time and what seemed like an ocean of red ink seen drifting across my ad copy, I developed a tough outer skin concerning the collaborative process.  I also realized that all that red ink wasn’t about me not doing a decent job of my job. Far from it. It was “about” ownership.  If my business manager was able to add a red mark to my mock-up, he owned the whole of what I’d done.

What a revelation this was for a young ad copy executive.

This morning I was reminded yet again what a gift it is to be able to quickly apologize for my mistakes.

No longer do I have to go on a fretting binge.

Neither do I worrying about my lack of talent.

I don’t consume myself with feeling like I let others down.

I don’t have to obsess about my mistakes, or think they define me.

I don’t have to be angry with others who maybe didn’t share all the information they had, or who couldn’t step up and admit their mistakes as easily as I.

There was a time when making a mistake ruined my whole day, maybe my whole week. No more!  It’s liberating!  It’s refreshing!

It’s exciting to live this life of swept-clean-streets and moving-on miracles.

Today, I love the color red more than I ever have and I embrace it’s every hue.  It may not show up on sheets of black and white on my desk top any more, but life is full of red-ink moments for us all, isn’t it?

Learning to roll with the punches in this life is essential, and learning to quickly say you’re sorry, to everyone but the condemning weasels in life, is a gift.  So glad for the lessons I’ve learned on this third rock from the sun.

So glad for God’s grace in the red-ink phases of life!

When have you been covered in red ink?  Do you find it hard to apologize?


3 thoughts on “Red Ink and Saying I’m Sorry

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