Friday, April 29, 2005

Mea culpa

For the nonliterary and non-Catholics out there, mea culpa means through my fault. It has come to mean forgive me.

No, I don't need forgiveness, but forgiveness is on my mind. Forgiveness for being wrong.

If someone admits to being wrong but you never see or hear them say they're wrong, does that mean they're infallible or that they believe they are always right? Or must they go to everyone who knows them and admit being wrong when it doesn't concern or involve them? Should they say, "Last (fill in the blank) I was wrong about something I said to (fill in the blank) or believed about (fill in the blank) and I just wanted you to know so that you wouldn't think I'm never wrong??

Do we owe everyone we come in contact with a laundry list of our faults, mistakes and misconceptions just to prove to them we make mistakes and have flaws? Should we list every time we used WiteOut or rewrote something? Is it necessary to enumerate our sins and lies to prove we're human? Or is it enough simply to accept that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes? Do we need people to prove to us that they are worthy of our friendship because they don't agree with us or feel they're right about something with which we do not agree?

Seems to me that kind of thinking would keep everyone so busy nothing would ever get done.

For me, I don't care if you agree with me or not. My opinions are MY opinions. They change as I learn and change and grow, but they are still my opinions. I don't feel it necessary to tell you that I once believed wholeheartedly in Christianity, or that for a short time I was fascinated by and interested in Mormonism, or that long ago I believed that no water that came from reprocessed human waste could be drinkable again.

Over the years I have read and learned and experienced many things and I have changed my mind countless times about philosophy, religions and people. I once believed that illegal immigrants had no place in America and that they should be rounded up and sent back, until I met one of them and became friendly with him. I learned a lot about what really goes on in this country with regard to illegal immigrants and how different branches of the government treat them very differently. I once believed that having a lot of possessions and money and property was more important than anything else; I don't believe it any longer. I haven't for a long time.

Was I wrong to believe that possessions were more important than anything else, that security and success were all that mattered? If so, there are millions upon millions of people all around the world who are wrong, too. I believe very differently now.

I make mistakes all the time. To the people who view my mistakes, I admit I'm wrong. So until I make a mistake in the middle of the Super Bowl on live television on a satellite feed, don't count on me admitting it to the world. If you're not there or you didn't pay attention when you were, tough luck. You missed your chance to feel superior and to have proof that I am human. In the meantime, you'll just have to take my word for it and watch a whole lot closer.

After all, that's why they invented spell checker and WiteOut and dictionaries and answer keys in the first place.

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