The Power of Forgiveness


I re-learned it the other evening after seizing upon the power of apologizing.

At a screening, I was seated right behind Tony winning actor/singer/humanitarian Phyllis Newman and cringed every time she swiveled her head because I didn’t want her to see me.

I’d written something off-base about her some years ago, and have felt weird about it ever since, wishing I could undo the damage.

(I wrote that she walked out of watching a Broadway play, not realizing it was because of a health problem. She wanted to stay for Act Two, but couldn’t.)

At the screening’s after party, I was working the room as Phyllis entered, barreling right into my line of vision.

My heart raced, but rather than duck for cover one more time, I seized the moment and tried to spark a difference.

“Hi, Phyllis,” I said, going for the pounce.

“I’m so sorry I wrote something bad about you.”

“What?” she said, obviously not thinking about this night and day for six years as I have.

“Some time ago, I wrote something dumb and I just want to apologize. I’m so sorry,” I elaborated, cranking up the charm I didn’t know I even had.

“Oh, that’s OK,” she replied, lovingly.

“Life is too short.”

Wham–bad feelings evaporated.

Awkwardness avoided.

Avoiding avoided.

Classy lady.

Of course 99 per cent of the harsh things I’ve written I totally stand by, but it was nice to defuse the ickiness of this one.