Did you know your father hit a dog last week?  Driving home from work.

I made this strange announcement at the dinner table.  I don’t recall exactly why I brought it up; somehow it fit the topic we were on.  My children stopped eating.  They put down their forks and looked at their father.  Differently.

Really?  When?  Where?  Did you stop?  Did it die?  Did you try and help?  Did you take it to the vet?

I think of my husband, the day it happened.  This environmentalist, this genuine tree hugger, the most caring guy I know when it comes to the world around us.  His voice had broken.  There was no way to stop -- the dog had darted out.  And there at the table, the same look on his face:  not defensive, just accused and convicted.  Sad and sorry, and strong enough to say so.

I think of the blank faces of the oil executives I’ve seen in the paper.  The dodging of responsibility, the lack of emotion.

And then, from the deep recesses of memory, I remember the thump of the squirrel under the old Pontiac wheels forty years ago.  I can still hear my mother’s voice saying to us, to herself, to the squirrel, to God on high:  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.

Guilt.  Remorse.  Penitence.  Shame.  I did it.  This was me.  I had a hand in this madness. 

Sad and sorry, and strong enough to say so.

I’m not sure where these feelings come from but, there at our dinner table, I saw them for what they are:  a gift from the very heart of God.

Tell us, where do you see the gift of truth-telling?


Thanks to Julianne for posting this AMAZING photograph!