I could get on a soapbox and rant about all the ways women in America overuse the word “Sorry” as an apology for their existence. It drives me crazy. Someone bumps into you in the store and you say, “Sorry.” Someone interrupts you in a conversation and you say, “Sorry.”
In Uganda, the way they use “Sorry” has given me a whole new appreciation for these 5 letters and what they can create together.
In this country, “Sorry,” is an expression of empathy and can be used with anyone; your sister, a colleague, the taxi driver and the guy walking down the street next to you. Someone coughs and you say, “Sorry.” Someone trips on a rock and you say, “Sorry.” You drop a glass and someone says, “Sorry.” You tell someone you didn’t sleep well last night and they say, “Sorry.” Each time it is spoken with such sincerity.
Their use of the word “Sorry” has given me insight into their ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy, “I am because we are.” As Desmond Tutu explains it, “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours,” and “A person is a person through other persons.”
I have said, “Sorry,” here, many times, and each time I say it, I receive the truth of our interconnectedness just a little bit more. Each time I say, “Sorry,” I invite my strong, individualistic, Western nature to soften into the gift of this We culture that has embraced me with so much love, kindness and generosity. “I am because we are.”