On this particular Saturday morning in Tucson, Arizona, because the weather was so spring-like (under 90), not summer-like (over 100), me and Ernie decided to walk in the park. Actually not wandering in the park, but rather hiking around the park.
There is a path that winds around the park. I’m not sure but it feels like the path around the park is at least a distance of one mile. At our pace it adds up to about 25 minutes to walk one lap around the park. Today we had aspirations of two laps. Thus, it’d take us about an hour.
So it’s a nice day, and instead of walking the mall we agreed to walk the park. For my part I’m enjoying the experience. I notice the cloudless sky. The majestic Catalina mountains. I smell the duck pond as we travel by. The new pollen from the budding pecan trees tickle my nose. (Allergies). That’s when Ernie said, “Have you ever apologized to God?”
I didn’t want to interrupt my in-the-moment experience. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to walk in silence. But that was not to be. “For what?” I answered.
Irritated, I said. “I have no idea what that even means.”
“I’m thinking I have ruined the best friendship I’ve ever had.”
I quieted my annoyance as I tried to recall what Ernie had ever said or done to undo our friendship. “OK, but I still don’t know what you’re talking about … be specific.”
Ernie explained, “I’m saying something about my relationship with God. I’ve messed it up and I feel like I should apologize for that.”
“Oh, OK.” I breathed a sigh of relief, because it wasn’t about us. “So, why do you call that willful ignorance?”
“Because I know what I should do and I am still reluctant to do it.”
“I’ve been blindsided. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted. And the consequences of that is that I’ve missed out on the benefits of our friendship.”
I thought I should try to lighten the moment. “A friendship with benefits, huh?” But he ignored my attempt at levity.
Ernie said,“I’ve been selfish, not because I didn’t know better, rather because the friendship didn’t seem worthwhile. It didn’t seem important… it seemed restrictive and inconvenient—as in no fun.”
“Don’t you see? this is willful ignorance. I ought to apologize for snubbing God’s friendship.”
Ernie’s confession slashed me. “Um yes, I see.” And I felt a twinge of pain because I have no excuse for not apologizing for my willful ignorance.
Search Me, Know Me (Kathryn Scott)