Is there someone who was once in your life that needs to return? Perhaps that person is about to knock on your front door – right now. The question becomes, will years of misunderstanding, pain, and pride allow you to let them in.
I know this can be a very treacherous issue, but maybe it’s time to at least think, and feel, things over. How ‘bout we talk about it.
I have a brother who’s a year-and-nine-months my senior. Sibling-wise, it’s been just the two of us from the moment I popped onto the scene. He lives in the ‘burbs of Detroit, and I in the ‘burbs of Chicago. It’s only 350 miles, but until just yesterday, you’d have thought it thousands.
Bruce and I have had a curious relationship over the decades. I don’t know that going into the details really serves any purpose here; however, we’re engineered very differently in most every imaginable way. But in my humble opinion, our similarities – independence, stubbornness, outspokenness, and pride – have always been foundational in our discord.
Seven years ago, due to a variety of issues, things became terribly tense between us. And about two-and-a-half years ago things really went over-the-top, and I made the decision to sever all ties – which likely saved him from officially announcing he had done the same.
So we went our separate and merry ways. Oh, we embraced and made a bit of small talk at our mother’s funeral last summer (kind of like Michael and Fredo Corleone); as well as being cordial when he came to visit my daughter in the hospital last year. And we had to communicate just a bit when my children visited he and his wife last summer and Christmas. But that was about it.
Everyone knew about the chasm – our parents, my children, his wife, and family members. And that was simply the way it was – period.
Not surprisingly, our stalemate was upsetting to our parents. Our mother had been very ill over the past three years or so, so it was primarily our dad who’d chime in with a few subtle suggestions of reconciliation. Actually, he was very good about it; citing he and his brother went through much the same (ah, genetics). Nonetheless, I wasn’t running to my phone.
But my heart and mind began to open when my now teenage children started talking with me about the whole mess. Certainly they respected my privacy and my feelings, but the conflict bugged them – and they called me on it. And at the very heart of their appeal was love of family, time, and life itself.
They were absolutely right, though it took me a bit of time to sufficiently swallow my pride so I could be truly open to change.
But then came yesterday…
As I’ve mentioned several times here on chipur and the newsletter, my son participated in his high school graduation ceremonies yesterday. And my dad and brother made the trip, which I’d known for a month or so would occur.
I came to the conclusion it was time to end this relational crap, man-up, and see if I/we could put things together. Certainly, it was going to take two, but I really wanted to be one of them.
Well, we all, including my children’s mother and her husband, spent the day together yesterday. In fact, my-ex and her husband hosted a party after the ceremonies. And what a wonderful time we all had together, including my brother and me.
Now, did we first go around to the side of the house and duke it out? No. Did we sit down and talk things out? No. Did we fall into each others’ arms, crying and lamenting the err of our ways? No. With absolutely no fanfare things just simply evolved the way they were seemingly intended.
Oh – I might also add that another catalyst for reconnecting is the welfare of our dad, who’s now a widower in his 80s, though still in very good health. We both “have his back,” if you know what I mean.
And what’s very cool is our dad is moving next week from Blythewood, SC to my brother and sister-in-law’s home. That cuts down the visiting distance for my dad, my children, and me by 500 miles. And moving-on relationally with my brother only serves to make those visits all the more pleasant for everyone.
Now, you know I have to ask – is there, indeed, someone standing at your front door about to knock? Who is it? Do they belong in your life? Do you belong in theirs? Would a relationship be potentially toxic? Will you both be the better for opening your hearts and minds, and giving it a go?
Rich food for thought, don’t you think? Why not start some processing right here on chipur with a comment?