I’m sorry there’s not enough salad. And the chili doesn’t really taste like anything. Feel free to add spices. Or whatever. It’s okay if you hate chili–I won’t be offended. I rehearsed these apologies over and over again in my head as I walked over to the home of a couple in our Bible Study who just had a baby girl. I peeked into the bag again to make sure the chili hadn’t leaked out of the jars. [Yes, jars. In case you hadn't heard, jars are the news Tupperware. It also happens that all my Tupperware containers have disappeared. So that is also a factor.]
Oh dear, that is anemic-looking chili, I thought, and the rehearsal began again.
But you know what? That is an enormous waste of emotional energy. And it’s silly. And my chili is actually half decent.
A few weeks ago, a friend of ours had a medical emergency and I found myself babysitting a wee-one and holding down the fort. And sometime around mid-afternoon, meals started being delivered for this dear family. As I held a toddler hand and listened to directions about pre-heating ovens and D-e-s-s-e-r-t, I heard something louder than the instructions: no apologies.
Neither of these lovely ladies apologized for over-cooking the quinoa or not adding enough oregano. They didn’t explain why they “only” brought salad and an entree. And you know what? That made sense: because it wasn’t about them. It wasn’t about me babysitting either. It was about loving on a family and helping them get through a really tough day.
Back to my chili. As I thought about that afternoon spent babysitting, I felt challenged to not apologize but to simply hand over the chili and back away slowly. This would mean not subtly implying that I can bake up a storm (if I’d only had time!) and that no matter how yummy this may taste, I can cook way more delicious food. Essentially, I’d just hand a new Mama a meal.
So as I waited for the crosswalk sign to light up, I swore to say Nothing.
Well here’s the problem, people: old habits die hard. (It would be helpful to note here that my boss has forbidden me to apologize in meetings. This is an indication of my problem…)
Maybe it was the scent of newborn or her little nose or the genuine joy of Mama, but I forgot my resolve. I found myself saying, “So yeah, my brother said it was cruel to bring you chili after you just gave birth. Um…I had no idea. I’m sorry. Also, it pretty much doesn’t taste like anything because I didn’t know your spice tolerance and–”
And then the baby cooed (actually I think she pooped) and we got distracted and we hugged and smiled and dinner was all but forgotten.
In case you were confused, this is not a How To Be Awesome At Delivering Supper Post. Nor is it a Female Only Post. This is a post about being real. I want to stop using apologies like concealer. I want to be someone who can hand over dinner and be 1000% into hearing about your epidural (Let’s be honest: I may not ever reach 1000% on that one). In fact, I want to be able to ring the door bell and walk away, no note, no accolade, no attention on me. I want to do my best and not garnish it with an “I’m sorry!”.
Is anyone else struggling to be the real deal? Are you a compulsive apologizer? Do you think your chili recipe is better than mine? If so, please make it for me. I did not have a baby or a medical emergency but I am always open to delectable chili.