Never lose a chance to make amends

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 19, 2004

HAROLD KELLER – Get High on Life

When I reflect on my high school days, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over 50 years since I graduated. Most of my memories about those days are pleasant. I have to admit that I was a little mischievous and got into a lot of trouble that caused me some anxious moments.

Making bad choices in those early days usually hurt only me, but I clearly remember one incident that hurt someone else.

In those days, like today, one of the biggest fund raisers was the school’s carnival ball. The king and queen had a court of five dukes and five maids. Each person in the court had five dance call-outs. One of the maids honored me with an invitation to dance with her for one of her call-outs. I nervously accepted, but as the time got closer for the ball, I wished that I had never agreed. My problem was that I hated to dance, because I wasn’t good at it.

A few hours before the night of the big event, I decided I needed a little liquid courage and began to drink. The more I drank, the less courage I had and eventually, I got drunk and missed the dance.

I was too embarrassed to apologize and explain to the young lady what had happened.

Over the years, that incident haunted me. I never could forgive myself for being a coward and hurting an innocent young lady.

I entered the Navy after high school and, over the years, lost contact with her as she moved out of the area.

About eight years ago, I ran into one of her relatives and asked where she was. I got her phone number and called her. When she answered the phone, I identified myself, and she was shocked! I told her the reason for my call was to ask her forgiveness for standing her up on that night that was so special to her. Her comment was, “Harold, I always wondered why you did that to me.” I explained what happened. We had a long conversation about old times, and she forgave me.

Words cannot express how I felt after that call. I was freed from a bad experience of my past.

A couple of years ago, she died. I am just thankful that I had a chance to make amends to someone who didn’t deserve the hurt that I caused.

It’s never too late to make amends, but the sooner you do, the less you’ll be haunted.

HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational organization. Call 652-8477 or write to P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084.