She'd emailed me, troubled that an acquaintance of hers had accused her of making a comment that was racially charged.
Back then, I was mistaking spirituality for a carte blanche to analyze my loved ones. I replied, "Maybe you're upset because you really are prejudiced and you don't want to face it." I threw in some Buddhist jargon for good measure.
A week later, her email response. "I'm furious with you. I've been storming around my house trying to figure out what to do about it. I didn't ask for your opinion. I wanted you to listen."
Oh. Her words stung. I recognized myself––that damned impulse to spout my opinions as though they were facts that would transform you into a better person.
She asked, "Can we meet for coffee, to talk this through?"
I was grateful for the chance to apologize in person. "Yes!"
We crowded our coffee, pastry and roiling emotions on to a tiny wrought iron table.
She said, "I couldn't let this go. I'm mad, but scared to approach you. I thought you might blow up, walk out on our friendship. Then I realized that would have to be okay. I only want relationships where we can talk honestly."
"Me too, Stef. I'm really sorry." We talked it through. (I listened.) I miss that Stef, willing to reach for my hand, so we could slog through the muck together.