Family relationships can be challenging, to say the least. I have known very few people in my life who have not experienced some level of separation from loved ones, whether it is physical or emotional. There is usually hurt on both sides and even honest attempts at reconciliation can lead to deeper misunderstandings and hurt. It is so difficult to keep an open heart and mind but it is the only way to maintain hope.
I do not have simple answers but I have learned a few things that have brought me some level of mental and emotional peace. First of all, I am only responsible for my own “stuff.” Being honest with myself about my part in any situation allows me to make amends and be available to forgive myself and others. It is not my job to convince others of their mistakes. Demanding that another person see and understand how I have been hurt seldom produces resolution and healing. Going into the past over and over again never brings progress; it usually creates regression.
“The devil is in the details” is an old adage that is proven true in relationship issues. Each person sees a shared experience through their own eyes, their own filters, their own interpretations, and their own woundedness. We bring this into any discussion about what caused the separation or distance. There are times when a good long talk (not argument, talk) will open the doors to understanding and resolution – IF both parties are clear about their own behavior and are willing to make amends – IF both parties can let go of details and listen from their hearts, being willing to forgive and let it go. There are very often times when both parties have to care enough about the relationship to stop talking about it and agree to forgive themselves and each other because they love and value each other. Once this is agreed upon, they can begin to rebuild trust, friendship, love.
There may also be the need to wait for the other person to be ready and available. This is one of the most difficult things to do. I recently heard from a loved one that I had not seen or spoken to in almost 10 years. The separation brought such a deep sadness in me that I never spoke of it to a single person. This past year I felt it most deeply. I did not want to come to the end of my life without this person knowing how much I loved him, and had loved him since the day he was born. In prayer and meditation, I sought guidance about how to reach out even though every effort had been rebuffed in the past. Then one day I received a text….and I responded with a phone call. We spoke quietly and gently and told each other “I love you.” I asked if there was anything we needed to talk about. My precious loved one said “I just want to live in the moment.” I said I wanted the same and I asked if we could begin to slowly rebuild our relationship. He said he would like that and so we began.
No accusations. No demands for detailed acknowledgements. No pouring out of the hurt caused and/or endured. Just two people, humbled over time by life, being willing to admit that love had endured. Just two people quietly staying in the present moment and letting the present moment be enough.
May your mind and heart be open.