I accidentally said, "NOT TODAY, SATAN." Which, if you have watched any movies about demonic possession, know makes the demon very angry. My son replied, "MY NAME ISN'T SATAN!" and then proceeded to pull all his clothing out of his drawers.
Anyway, by the grace of God, my son somehow returned to me (the demons cast out or back to sleep) and gave me a big hug and said, "I am sorry. Can we start the day over?"
I thought maybe it was a trick and he was hugging me into to steal my wallet. But, since I still have my wallet, I think it was genuine. We started the day over. We laughed about him not actually being Satan and together discussed how his trombone music could be replaced, but our time together and our relationship could not be.
My kids and I often start over with one another. My two teenage girls can argue with me (I know, I know SHOCKING!) and things can take a turn quickly from disagreement to full on war. When this happens before bed or before one of them is going out somewhere or I am going out somewhere, I feel so heartbroken. I never want to end things on negative notes.
So, I humbly apologize for my part in the conflict (while also mentioning maybe they could do the same) and we start over--a hug and a laugh.
The humble apology part is not the easiest, but it is the most essential part of starting over. With my kids, my apology is not to free them from the responsibility of their actions. Instead, it is about modeling my humanity and showing them that my love for them trumps my ego every day.
I often apologize in my professional life when there is a conflict--again it is not because I am solely responsible for the conflict. It is just because I am not perfect and someone has to bend.
My mother gave me this bending advice when I was a teenager and involved in teenage dramas. She reminded me of it when I was a newlywed and experiencing the true conflicts that marriage brings.
Her advice always drove me crazy--why should I yield to anyone?
Well, the answer is easy: because I want to return to the time when we could just love each other and live in truth, not in combat.
Yielding and starting over is still hard, somedays. But, then other days, it is easy when I look at the little, sweet faces of my kids (yeah, I know they are not babies anymore, but they always will be to me). It's easy when I remember my colleagues are people I love, too. It's easy when I remember that in bending, I am stopping a situation from breaking.