Closing Open Doors

 In Featured Stories

Age 16, Dallas, Texas, USA

Dear Lindsey,

I hope you can forgive me for my empty presence.

I got to get this off my conscience. I’m sorry for not being the person that I am when you needed me most. I am that loud and rowdy guy you met in June. I am that guy that got really close with you. I am that guy that you opened up too.

When we left camp your wounds started to show. People hurt you. They took advantage of your sensitivity. I sat and listened and gave you the best advice I could. As time went on I showed you my true colors too. I had a lot in my recent past and only had the courage to say little. You were there for me too. Things were great. Then came that disastrous February.

Less than a week before I was going to see you and all of our friends, two of your childhood friends died in a car accident. From that moment on, nothing would be the same.

I offered my support and condolences, but how far did I go to reach out to you? Not that much. I should have reached out more. You had a lot bottled in. You needed someone to just listen. And then I did the most stupid thing when I first saw you with that game we dared we would play on each other. It was the wrong time. The worst time.

We’ve talked to each other since and things have been mutually declared as fine but nothing feels the same. I am ashamed of myself for what I did. I am speechless looking back. I can’t look at you the same way. I can’t feel as close. I wish we could just talk about things but I fear where the conversation could end up. Perhaps you need more time. Either way, I hope you can forgive me.

What did you learn?

I learned the value of mindfulness the hard way.

IHYFM’s response:

I Hope You Forgive Me

Dear “Closing Open Doors,”

This really touched us deeply. It’s so obvious that you care about “Lindsey” but that you struggled and didn’t quite know how to handle a very stressful/traumatic situation. Sometimes, good people shut down and with some distance see things more clearly. It’s what we call the octopus effect—like it attaches to your face and temporarily keeps a person from seeing the bigger picture. It’s too close and upfront and it takes time to peel all those tentacles off.

We know it’s not easy, but is there any chance you can copy what you wrote and read it to her? If you don’t feel comfortable reading it to her, what about texting or messaging or emailing it? Our first choice would be to have you read it, because then you can HEAR her response. With texting etc it’s impossible to get the nuances behind a person’s words. Tone can change everything.

Just so you know, we’re rooting for you. People make mistakes. It’s so obvious you feel deeply remorseful and it’s equally important for you to forgive yourself! You’re not perfect and you never will be. But, you can strive to be the best you. That’s something you can attain. Being your best sometimes means that you mess up. Be mindful and think about what you CAN control, because there’s so much in life that we CAN’T control, so worrying about that, stressing out about it takes away from doing what you can do.

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