I am so sorry your dog died, but sorry you cannot spread his ashes here. It really is a sorry state of affairs and I am genuinely sorry to be the one to refuse but ‘I am sorry.’

I overuse this word and I misuse this word. It can become if I am not careful an empty expression. How can I change or at least modify this habitual expression so that I better convey my true heart. What if I consciously consider what I am trying to say, like in the example above. What if …

I am sad for you that your dog died, but the rules prevent you from spreading his ashes here. It really seems a bit harsh. I am regretful to be the one to to refuse, but I apologize ‘rules are rules.’

Ok, sounds a whole lot more stilted; however, if I dig a little deeper to grasp what I am trying to express can that digging increase my self awareness? With God’s help can I cut to the heart of the matter and discover my motives? Will I be able to separate genuine sorrow, remorse from superficial politeness or politically expedient apologies? Who knows? Not I, but it is worth the experiment.

Words matter, but what drives our words matters more. I can put on a series of masks and filters and abide by all the societal and political rules of public and even private language. OR, I can choose to completely let every preconceived notion, prejudice, and unapologetically offend bunches of people. Or, I can open myself to hear others, I can seek to understand even when I don’t agree, I can allow the Holy Spirit to show me the darker corners within and strive to become a life affirming person within.

Maybe then Grace and Blessing will naturally come out of my mouth—BUT I AM NOT THERE YET!