Personal Online Journal

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"It's my fault"

I was reading Joel Spolsky today and it reminded me of our lesson yesterday in Elder's quorum meeting.

One morning I needed an extra set of keys to my apartment, so on the way to
work, I went to the locksmith around the corner.

13 years living in an apartment in New York City has taught me never to trust a locksmith; half of the time their copies don’t work. So I went home to test the new keys, and, lo and behold, one didn’t work.

I took it back to the locksmith.

He made it again.

I went back home and tested the new copy.

It still didn’t work. Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance.

I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury.

“It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.”

He looked at it.

I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth.

“Ah. It’s my fault,” he said.

And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all.

Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took.

He made the key a third time. I wasn’t mad any more. The key worked.

And, here I was, on this planet for forty years, and I couldn’t believe how much the three words “it’s my fault” had completely changed my emotions in a matter of seconds.

Most locksmiths in New York are not the kinds of guys to admit that they’re wrong. Saying “it’s my fault” was completely out of character. But he did it anyway.

Our lesson was from "The Miracle of Forgiveness" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball). In this chapter, there is a scripture that is quoted twice, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:43.)

Last week, I had an argument with someone I care about. After it, I still held strong feeling about a particular part. A couple of days ago, I talked to this person and shared how I felt. I noticed that the strong feelings I had left as soon as I shared them. I no longer was holding a grudge. By sharing how I felt and not accusing, our conversation was mild. After I confessed holding a grudge, it left.


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