Hard things by definition are hard. Reconciliation is a hard thing. In truth, I have come to recognise it as one of the hardest things in life. I write from personal experience, but perhaps it comes easier to others.
I have found that all sorts of things get in the way. Feelings and thoughts mostly. Long held resentments that tend to feed themselves quite easily. Memories of particular events and experiences that just won’t go away. Some things feel like they are so important that they can’t be easily set aside or forgiven. Or, forgotten. At times, the past haunts the present like a stalking beast rather than a font of recurring joy. Strange how the more unpleasant stuff lingers longer than the good stuff.
Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that life is about trying to understand oneself amid a lifetime of memories and experiences, and the risks we take with people and decisions. I was reminded of this ‘truth’ in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal Dreams which I read a few years ago now and which came to mind while thinking about this article. I had made note of a sentence that really resonated with me. It’s since been turned into a meme – that’s how profound it is.
“Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin”.
We all have our own perspective on the things that happen in our lives. Someone else ‘looking on’ might form a different view. But most of the time, our view is the only one we encounter and have to make sense of.
Which is why I think reconciliation is the hardest of things to do. Because it often means letting go of how we see things or remember things and listening to someone else’s perspective. That requires a particular kind of compassion-filled courage along with a large dose of humility.
But there is healing within the process – for everyone involved, especially the one who initiates it.