Brother Underwood

When I was a little girl, I used to love going to church. Our pastor was named Brother Underwood, and he was a warm soul. He would touch our little faces as we walked in on Sundays and called us by name. his hands smelled of lilac lotion and felt warm on my face.

One day in Sunday school he called all the kids to the front pew for a special lesson that I’ll never forget. He handed us all toothpicks and Q-tips, and squeeze toothpaste from a tube. “Try to put it back” he challenged. His words never raised above a whisper. It drew us in, like a secret. None of the adults in the room would hear his message.

We each got a turn scraping the toothpaste with our tools. Each of us was sure we would be the victor. We couldn’t.

Once you say something, once you do something, you can never take it back.

No apology will ever repair all future doubts. No excuses can repair disappointment.