“Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace, it shouldn’t be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice.” Corazon Aquino

It’s happened to me twice in the past year. Two times in one
year when all the years before have included oh so many breaking relationships,
a family strewn apart over words and hate, scattered across states and out of
each other’s lives. My experience coming from a troubled family is that things
broke apart more often than they came back together.

But this year, in just the past months, two times I’ve experienced
the reconciliation of a broken relationship.
This is new to me. And it felt very outside of me. Both
began by an internal preparation. In one case, the person was on my mind for days,
and I felt such a great sense of missing her, despite not living near each other for years. Then out of nowhere, days later,
her name appeared in my Facebook inbox requesting to be friends with me. Friends! Healing followed.  
And the other one was much closer to home – a broken
relationship with my sister that had lasted for over a decade. But the
reconciliation began with the same prompting. I couldn’t get her out of my
mind, couldn’t stop feeling sad – for her and that our lives may continue on
with this distance until one of us passed away. No goodbye, no forgiveness
expressed, no reconciliation.
So without telling a soul, I decided to write a very simple
letter saying that I have always loved her. I had no specific expectations for
a return response, and I didn’t want to send the note until I knew it was traveling
through the mail without any conditions attached.
My sister is seven years younger than me and basically grew
up in a different home. I had a two-parent family where we had dinner together
each night, however chaotic those family times turned out to be. My sister grew
up with divorced or separated parents with siblings who had flown the nest. In
my case, I rarely showed my face around there once I had moved out of state.
After a pretty strong disagreement over my choice to keep my
unhealthy mother at a distance, my sister and I were estranged. I believe today
there are legitimate reasons for relationships to break, and the break with my
family was legitimate, but the estrangement did not come without great grief
and a sense of loss. I have now spent over a decade learning how to allow hurt
and suffering to be something that transforms us for the good rather than
destroying us, learning how to not let betrayal eat at your soul. This is
possible. So is forgiveness  – but
sometimes from a distance. We do not have the ability to force people to love
us or be faithful to us, but we do have control over how we treat them in
My sons spent those years with no extended family from my
side. My older son married with no one from my family in attendance. He was
offered the choice to invite them but declined. Occasionally a son would ask,
“Do you think they ever think of me?” I don’t remember my answer at the time,
but my sister has recently said, “Yes, I thought of them all the time.”
Not everyone will experience reconciliation in their broken
relationships. Parents die without removing a curse of mean-spirited words.
Divorces become final – and remain final. Friendships end over small and large
And there are some relationships in our lives that should
remain broken. If there isn’t going to be mutual trust, respect, and love,
along with a lack of abuse, the relationship may be toxic to our health. There
are certain words and behaviors which cannot be tolerated, and we can force no
one to change.
But it never hurts to reach out, for what might be a final
word, with an expression of love.
My childhood friend experienced the trauma of telling her
father she hated him (which she did not) after the family found out about his
affair. He committed suicide in their garage shortly after, and those became her last words to him. When I’ve gone to
her about writing a note or expressing love to someone in a risky situation,
she replied once, “Telling someone you love them is never wrong.”  
So I’ll celebrate – for hearing that still small
voice that prepared me for healing – and for the willingness for all parties
involved to step in and offer an olive branch of reconciliation. May we all
express more love with no conditions attached. Peace to each and every one of

Every act of love is an act of peace, no matter how small. – Mother



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