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Sometimes from out of the blue, a thought flashes across our mind: An unwelcomed remembrance from the past.

Something we had said, or done, or not done, something that caused pain to someone else. And our heart becomes filled with regret and remorse.

It only we hadn’t said it, or done it; or done what we didn’t do. If only we could erase the pain we had caused; not by deliberate intent, but thoughtlessness or in the heat of a moment.

Yes we know, O Lord that in your scheme of things there is no going back; there is no undoing; no unsaying; no erasing. That what was still is.

So be it. We will accept the pain of regret, the sting of remorse. But we will not inflict the burden of guilt upon ourselves.

For it was not with malice aforethought that we committed our offenses and it should not be with malice upon ourselves that we do repentance.

O Lord, let it so be.

While my grandmother writes about the regret and remorse of saying something that caused pain. The angst is the same for words that were never spoken. I deeply regret I never said “I love you” to my grandmother. I nonchalantly jotted it down at the end of note or bottom of a card, but never spoke the words.

Conversions were ended with “thanks for calling,” “see you soon,” and “have a good week.”

It’s interesting; therefore, that this invocation, written by grandmother, focuses on what was spoken rather than the unspoken. The word and concept of “love” was eluded in my family. Until I married, it rarely escaped my lips.

Instead, directives, opinions and critiques were spoken, many petty and disparaging. Offering another point-of-view or rebuttal was seen as an attack, rather than a reasonable response. While my grandmother never spoke with malice, and was exceedingly loving, caring, and gracious, her critiques, especially of my error-riddled written school papers, often hurt.

Every Saturday, she’d visit and take a red pen to my school work. Sometimes, it was hard to find my work beneath the pools of red corrections!

While there’s “no undoing, no unsaying, and no erasing,” recognizing and reflecting on the “needle pricks of memory” is a first step in thinking before speaking. And in a sense, sometimes it is okay to say what shouldn’t be said. After all, my grandmother’s criticism of my writing, resulting in my becoming a better, more confident writer. Although, I still cringe when I see a red pen.

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