Sunday, May 17, 2020

Désolé


Have you heard of the French word “désolé” (pronounced dess-oh-lay)? I keep thinking about it. Sometimes I get kind of entranced by a word; does that ever happen to you? I am re-reading the mystery series by Louise Penny which is set in Quebec so the characters often use French words, désolé being one of them. It means “sorry.” I also happen to be watching a French detective series on Amazon Prime, with English subtitles. Those characters, too, say “désolé” from time to time, with the caption of “Sorry” or “I’m sorry.” It’s a pretty word, I think, but the meaning is kind of sad. 


Related to it is the word “desolation,” which is used in my Ignatian studies. One of the Jesuit spiritual exercises is the Examen, in which you review your day as part of a prayer. In that examination, one question you ask yourself is whether your actions or thoughts were a consolation or desolation. The shorthand explanation for that is, Were you moving closer to God with that action (consolation), or away from God (desolation)?


As I googled désolé, desolation, desolate, and desolated, I found another meaning is abandoned, forsaken, alone. I wonder if that sense of the word is part of the reason it is fascinating me right now. We are isolating ourselves, sheltering in place, quarantining ourselves. Those are lonely words, too.


I have been thinking a lot about the concept of being sorry. Sometimes it is hard to say the words, “I am sorry.” Saying those words sometimes seems lame. I tell myself I don’t need to apologize or justify myself to someone else. But while that is true sometimes, it is also true that there are times I do need to apologize. Times I have hurt someone, or said something offensive, or made someone angry, or belittled them, or gossiped about them, or ignored them, or one of many other things we do when we mess up in our relationships. Saying those words, “I am sorry,” and really meaning them, is often the only hope of saving a relationship.


There are times, too, when I tell Jesus I am sorry. When I review my day and remember things I have said or done that take me further from God -- desolation -- I tell him I am sorry. He forgives me. Always. Thank God that when we tell God, “Désolé,” he always forgives and consoles us. He even forgives before we say we are sorry, as when he said on the cross about the people who were killing him, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”


Maybe this seems like a kind of depressing thing to think and write about. Désolé. There is a sadness about it. But somehow it is beautiful, too.


What do you think?


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What is this?? A while back, I had an idea. I was thinking of some friends I wanted to pray for, but I didn't have a specific thing to pray about on their behalf. I decided to pray that they would feel God's love. I decided to send them an email when I prayed, so they'd know and be encouraged. Then I thought about my many other family and friends who I would like to encourage with prayer, and decided to start this email.
    Two things I try to do:
-- Encourage you with a reminder of God's love. My goal is to avoid anything where the response is "I should..." Just a short reflection of God's love.
-- Pray for you. I'll pray with each email, and please reply to me with anything you'd specifically like me to pray for you. I'll keep it confidential, don't worry..

.     If you would like to send me specific prayer requests. I will gladly pray with you. Email me at mavis at moonfamily.cc. I'll keep all communication confidential.

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