“I’m Sorry” and a Heart at Peace

2 07 2012


“I have learned that sometimes “sorry” is not enough. Sometimes you actually have to change.”


The rumble that came from the Harley that came pulling up in my driveway alerted me that I was about to be visited by someone outside my usual sphere of friends and acquaintances.  When I opened the front door, there stood a man, tall, a tad overweight, in cycle leathers, dark sunglasses and wild blond hair that was obviously wind whipped from riding without a helmet.  This figure of a man didn’t seem familiar to me; that is, till he spoke.  “John John, you haven’t gotten any prettier over the years, give me a hug you crazy maniac you!”  Oh good grief, it’s Harry!  Totally recognizing who this was I did give my old friend a hug, but at the same time there was this little voice calling to me in the back of my mind saying, “Quick, slam the door, you don’t know if the statue of limitations has run out from the last time you saw this guy and what he got you into!” Good Old Harry, probably the best front man and singer I ever worked with in a rock band.  I don’t care who or what the crowd’s mood was, if you didn’t have a good time when Harry was out front entertaining, that meant you went home early.  My man Harry had a way with people, you could come into the club where we were playing in the worst of moods and end up feeling like you had been with one of your best and funniest friends; give Harry the mike and it was Showtime for Dr. Feelgood!  Yes sir, everyone wanted to be around this guy, to be able to say they saw him or earn bragging rights that you were not just a fan, you were a friend.  Those are the things I remembered about Harry that I liked; besides that he was kind of a big brother to me.  The other side of the coin of “Good Time Harry” well, that left a little to be desired.  He was a good egg; always nice to everyone he met, unless he had over indulged in Mr. Jack Daniel’s well known elixir.  Usually at that point, the mouth would override the brain and he’d end up squaring off against somebody, generally with a resemblance to the Incredible Hulk!  (The end result was seldom pretty!)  That was one of Harry’s downsides; the other was his attraction to the opposite sex, and vice versa.  Harry had the looks, the moves and the grooves and all that made him quite popular with the ladies.  I expressed my concern over his lifestyle to him on a couple of occasions.  “John John, you’re only young once, if you don’t make the best of it now you’ll regret it later.”  I understood being young and enjoying the revelry of it, but that wasn’t my issue; it was a dark haired, brown eyed gal he shared an apartment with back in his hometown by the name of Lana. 

She never came on the road when we were playing, Harry didn’t want her to, for good reason, so that gave him ample room to enjoy the company of other pretty faced young ladies, shall we say.   Because of the closeness of Lana and Harry, she knew a side of him that no one else did.  On several occasions she confronted him about his escapades with other girls.  Harry always handled it the same way, complete denial and a fierce anger that she would even accuse him of such a thing.  And it worked the way he orchestrated; she would back off in fear of his temper and also of losing him. When leaving his place after one of his rants to Lana who stayed behind in complete tears, Harry smile grinned at me and said, “Works every time!”  That was some 30 years ago, the band dispersed and I never saw Harry again until he showed up on my doorstep.


“So, what are you up to these days Harry, still in music,” I asked over some coffee.  “Oh, a little, nothing serious, never could find another wild, crashing drummer to hang out with that would put up with me,” he joked.  “I work a factory job now over in Illinois, got married and have five kids.”  “Five!  Harry, you?  All from the same woman?” I asked in total disbelief.  “Yep, found a good one, kinda like Lana.” “So you two didn’t marry?” I questioned.  “No she ended up marring Jimmy (one of the guys from the band) and they still live around Lima; that’s what brings me here.  I was just over seeing them and thought I’d stop and say hello before heading home.”  Again I questioned, “So you guys stayed close over the years!”  “Hardly,” he shot back. “Her and I had a pretty messy breakup, you know, the way I treated her and everything.” “Okay,” I started, “Then what was the visit?”  It took Harry a moment as he looked down at his coffee cup before speaking. “Well John John, you might find this hard to believe, but I became a Christian a year ago.” Well, that brought a smile to my face, but then he went on.  “During this time I’ve been learning and trying to do right by God, my family and others.  For a long time now I’ve had Lana on my mind, and I knew what I had to do.  I told my wife what my intentions were and she gave me her full support.  So I drove back home and looked the two of them up.  I didn’t know exactly where to begin, but I knew what I had to do so I prayed God would lead me to them.  I stopped at the shopping center when I got to town (now his eyes got wide) and who walks out of the store I parked in front of?  Lana!  I could tell she was surprised to see me and even a little nervous.  I asked her if she would go back in the store, sit down over a cup a coffee, like we’re doing, ‘cause I needed to tell her something.” “So did she do it?” I pondered.  “I didn’t think she was going to, but then she said okay.”  “Well that’s awesome Harry, now you going to get around to telling what it was all about?”  A grin and sip of coffee before saying, “Patience John John, I’m getting there.”  Looking past me more than at me, like he was seeing something from afar he said, “Back when Lana and I were together, I treated her bad, terrible, in a way no one should ever be treated.  For the longest time it didn’t matter how I treated her, she was willing to put up with all of it, she loved me, but I was too blind to recognize what love really was.  With the help of God and the wonderful woman I married I came to see how little I actually knew about love, and the more I thought about Lana, the sicker I became.”  Now he turned his attention to me and the story he began. “When we sat down I didn’t waste anytime, I had to tell her. Lana, I was so wrong in our relationship.  I took for granted your love and gave none in return; you did nothing to deserve the way I treated you and I am so sorry.  I pray one day you might be able to forgive me.”  Wow, I was quite taken back by what I just heard and with a tear in my eye (because there were tears in Harry’s) I asked, “And did she forgive you?”  Head went back down to the coffee cup for just a second and then, “I don’t know, not real sure and I can’t blame if she doesn’t” I shrugged, “Sorry the trip didn’t go the way you had hoped Harry.”  “Oh but it did!” he instantly shot back.  “Yes, it would have been great to hear those words, I forgive you, but that wasn’t the point of the visit.  It wasn’t about what I expected to get from her, it was all about what she needed to get from me, a true, heartfelt admission of my ill treatment of her, and then to hear those words, I’m sorry.  I probably won’t ever see her again so I won’t know if she ever forgave me, but I will know in my heart that I finally set right a wrong I committed against another person.  That, I can live with for the rest of my days.”


True Strength cannot be measured in what a man achieves in life.  It can only be measured by how much of his strengths he passes to other not just in action but in word, such as I love you, I forgive you, and the big one, I’m sorry.”  J. David Miller


As I watched Harry rumple down the road on his Harley when he left my house I tried to bring up the image of the man I once knew, but it just would come.  After our visit I saw there was a new one where the old once stood.  No longer “Good Time Harry.”  I suppose some would now call him “Got Religion Harry,” but I don’t think that says it either.  I think “Heart Giver Harry” would fit best.  It sounds a little corny, but it appears to me Harry discovered someone loved him so much that He gave His heart, His life for him. When that occurred, Harry found out that he had a heart of his own, and from that point forward has been sharing it with others.  When we’re young we have a tendency to not recognize that our actions and words can sometimes bring hurt to others.  In some cases that hurt has been known to follow some all their lives thereafter.  I know this to be true because I’ve been on both ends.  For me, healing came when I could finally “forgive” ones who harmed me, some I’m sure probably don’t even realize any wrong was done. That was a part, but just like Harry I found another healing not just for the recipient but for the giver.  It may not be the complete remedy, but it sure can take away a lot of pain.  I know this from people who have told me it would have made all the difference in the world in their lives to have heard certain words.


Perhaps we all have at least one case where we need to say those certain words to someone else.  I know, it’s not easy; but with God’s help and a little strength conditioning we all can do it.


Hey, I’m a person for fitness so what say we all work together now, okay?


Okay, Ready, and one;

I’m sorry.

And two,

Please forgive me.





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