Saturday in the park we were having a great time visiting with our friends. I was engaging with a group of young men, joking around having a good time, and then I screwed up. Earlier one of the older gentlemen had given me a pack of cigs that I put in my pocket. From time to time our friends will give me something and no matter what it is I never refuse, in their way they feel like they are giving back and if I say no, they feel like their gift is not good enough. Anyway, I was standing there talking to this group of young men. When one of them wanted a cigarette, remembering the pack in my pocket, I meant to ask “Do any of you Guys want one of these?” what came out of my mouth was “Do any of you People want one of these.”
Now you have to understand that this group of guys have been a group that were always coming down to eat, but would grab a plate and then high tail it back to the far picnic bench to continue drinking and doing their drugs, never wanting anymore from us than a plate of food. About a month ago this all changed. They started coming over, getting their food then hanging out and talking. Then came the “can I have a hug before I leave.” Now when they show up, they bee line it strait over and let you know they are there and always want you to hug and love on them……you almost can’t get rid of them now…LOL.
Well after my screwed up comment, one of them jokingly asked what I meant by “You People, I thought we were all the same down here?” I tried to explain that it was not my intention to say that and I would never think of them as “You people.” I apologized and asked if they would forgive me. They said they knew what I meant and that I considered them like family, that they were just giving me a hard time.
It went deeper for me though. It still bothers me that I could have with one slip of the tongue and with one word destroyed the relationship that has been built with these young men. In no way do I ever want to hurt them or make them feel like they are different. With one word you can build up or you can destroy and my heartaches at the thought that I could have in spit second inflicted more pain into lives that were already hurting. I love my friends with a passion I cannot explain and I pray that I never have one of those “I screwed up moments again!”