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Speak Well of Me when You Go

It has become something of a philosophy.

So here is the mission… to do the right thing, to set it right, to go back and attempt to right the wrongs I did to other people when I was pinned between a rock and a hard place.

My dad has a saying, when someone will say, “how can I say thank you” or “what do I owe you for this thing, time, effort or energy”, and he says “Speak well of me when you go.” I can remember the first time I heard him say this; we were standing in the cool cement hallway of his work at the ARC in Vegreville. I wanted to keep going on whatever mission we were on, but he had been stopped to talk by someone who wanted to thank him for something. That was his comment, accompanied by a smile, a handshake and a dip of his head. My dad is one of those old-school and you-do-a-good-job-just-because-you-always-do-a-good-job kind of guy. Men like him are a dying breed now in the age of do-it-if-it-benefits-me-somehow or what’s in it for me mentality that seems to plague the men of the generations that follow.

I think of that often as I have been slowly righting the slights, wrongs, misunderstandings and mistakes I’ve made. The why? A clear conscience. I feel the injustices I have caused, the subtle and not so subtle hurts, the acting out of integrity… I cringe, wince.

I wish it could be different, something went horribly wrong in my life and the fault rests with me. I am responsible for my choices, for being who I was, for being with who I was with, for not doing the right thing more often or all the time. I will learn from this so that it never happens again. I will speak openly about it so that someone else will learn from me, and perhaps not feel so desperate to make the same choices.

I will speak openly about it to kill the shame that is so wrapped up in it. Shame is a dream stealer and light killer. Shame will hold you hostage for years… and years; and make you easy prey for the ones who would like to take your light for others who would use and abuse.

I will speak openly about it so that I can live and live fully, freely.

I will speak openly about it so that I can one day get to the place where someone, anyone… would only speak well of me when they go.

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