RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: FEELING THE NEED

Why these wars?
Why this loss of lives?
If men can love men,
And choose to live as close brethren.

Aching minds and crying hearts,
Longing for peace instead of fiery darts,
To love, indeed is an art,
Which every man must master and strive to play a part.

Reconciliation is a fruit of love. Love in the heart yearns to be reconciled with one who is not deemed to be on the same page as before.

Reconciliation refers to the restoration of previously existing friendly relations. It doesn’t simply mean ‘to patch up with someone.’ It involves much more. Though Reconciliation has been dealt with in Candles Online previously, this week is again devoted to the topic, thus recognizing its significant importance – be it in interpersonal relationships or in global ties. Without a doubt, reconciliation would make the world a better place to live in than it already is.

In today’s piece, I will be dealing with Feeling the Need for Reconciliation.

For any behaviour to manifest, there has to be a felt need. Though we do many things out of sheer habit, the human clock – be it biological, social or psychological – operates out of a felt need. Take, for example, hunger. When the hypothalamus perceives the need for food, it sends sensory signals and so you and I experience what is called hunger pangs. This leads us to go near a source of food and consume it to satiate our hunger. Just like hunger, most other physiological processes are born in the mind and are then translated into physical action/behaviour.

Reconciliation is not a physiological process, though the act of being reconciled with someone is reflected in physical and social behaviour. Unless one feels the need for reconciliation, the actual act of reconciliation doesn’t happen.

When we speak of reconciliation, we assume that there has been a point of conflict which was preceded by good relations. Genuine restoration of previous friendly relations is possible when the conflict is followed by forgiveness (which will be extensively dealt with on another day this week). Forgiveness, then gives way to the desire for reconciliation.

So then, what does it take to be reconciled with someone, why ought one feel the need for the same and how to reconcile? I’ll deal with the what and why of reconciliation in today’s piece. In the subsequent six articles of this week, we’ll talk about the how.

The intrusion of conflict into friendly relations results in the friendly ties being cut off, thus giving rise to enmity, anger, jealousy, a desire for revenge, stress and lack of peace as by-products. A continual indwelling of these vicious by-products results in a sick mind and body, thus affecting one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being. Too much a cost to pay for the one life that is gifted to us!

The Bible says –

“If possible as far as it depends on you live peaceably with all.”

 These words of wisdom are not without reason. Count the costs of conflict and the blessings of peace – you’ll realize it!

So then won’t it make one look like a fool to be reconciled with someone who was only yesterday trying to cause harm? Won’t it make one a weakling before others? Is it not more logical to avenge oneself – tooth for tooth and eye for an eye?

We see this happening. Our newspapers and News channels are full of hate stories – whether social or diplomatic. Is it doing anyone any good? Well, the earth is still rotating and revolving. It hasn’t come to a standstill. But, human life feels the impact of unreconciled strained ties. Hatred breeds hatred and Love breeds love.

How then do we deal with the wrong done to us by a friend?

The easy way out is, of course, to shun all ties. But then, reconciliation is just the opposite of it. The answer to the above question is – deal with love. Sounds a bit impractical, doesn’t it? True.

How do you talk sweetly to a friend who has publicly ridiculed you? How do you go back and love your husband who has hurled abuses at you? How do you love your business partner who has syphoned huge amounts and got you thrown into prison? How do you love your wife who has cheated on you and is romantically involved with someone else? And, do you need to be reconciled with such people at all? ‘Not needed’ – many would say. ‘Not humanly possible’ – I say. Not possible unless we invoke the power of the Almighty to renew and strengthen us from within. It is for God Almighty to avenge the evil, injustice and wrongs that plague humans, and He sure does it in His way and in His time. Not for you and I to think of ways to get even and scheme and strategise the means for the same.

Reconciliation follows forgiveness and needs repentance as a necessary precursor. It takes one to forgive (or seek forgiveness) but, two to reconcile. Unless there are realization and repentance from the erring party, any desire for reconciliation doesn’t materialize.

That gives an easy excuse. Of course, you and I cannot go to such extreme extends to make an erring party realise, repent, seek forgiveness and have the desire to be reconciled. This is being over-ambitious for one’s self. And here again is where we need the power of the Almighty as He alone is the one who transforms human hearts and with God nothing is impossible – absolutely nothing!

Reconciliation not only restores friendly ties but also elevates us to a higher platform of functioning. It ensures a continued flow of love, peace and joy in our heart. It aids our soul to reflect the character of God in us. You see, while we broke away from God owing to our sin, He walked towards us to restore the friendly ties. And so, when we strive to reconcile with others, we strive for a greater goal!

Think about the depths of these words as the next six articles would take the topic to further details.

MY AFFAIR WITH THE GREEN EYED MONSTER

envyHave you ever felt jealous? Have you ever had an affair with the green eyed monster? I have… Even though I keep telling myself that I am that calm and contented person who is happy for others, mostly I am, but at times the monster does rear its ugly head.

My husband keeps joking that Facebook and other photo-sharing sites of social media are full of photos that have been put for the sole purpose of making others jealous. How many times have you liked a picture and in your mind wondered how on earth does such and such person find time and finances to vacation so many times a year. I mean look at me posting pictures of the latest birthday party I attended in the adjacent building and my friends are in Bali or Macau or New Zealand or Australia…. 

Then there are the children. I guess I am surrounded by moms of overachieving kids. I mean look at their marks or their sports achievement or their extracurricular activities. Makes me wonder if my parenting techniques are in the right direction or not. Don’t get me wrong I love my children and they are fairly good in studies and sports. But then they are not winning medals in spelling bee contest and Olympiads and national level sports etc etc.

Someone is getting a promotion or an increment, I am genuinely happy for that person but somewhere in the corner of my mind you know my dear friend the greeny monster keeps asking me why I didn’t get it.

I know I am not painting a pretty picture of myself here but this is the way I was some time back. I would compare myself with others and then wonder what I had done wrong to get such a crappy life. 

But in due course of time I came to realise two things, firstly these envious feelings of mine were not helping my position at all rather I was just burning up inside and feeling bitter every day. To help my own cause I needed to think in exactly the opposite direction. 

Secondly remember nobody’s life is perfect. We will always feel that the grass is greener on the other side. In Urdu there is a famous couplet “Har kissi ko muqamal Jahan nahin milta, kissi ko Zameen kissi ko aasmaan nahin milta” which roughly translates as everyone does not get a perfect life. When I looked closely at other’s lives I realized that everyone had their own set of struggles. If the person is doing fabulous in the office then maybe he/she is facing a huge crisis back home or vice versa. We look at only one aspect of their life and feel jealous maybe that same person is looking at our life and feeling jealous. So basically I came to the conclusion that jealousy is a futile emotion. We should stay away from it as much as we can.

Seriously friends it works. I mean instead of wasting my time and thoughts on the things I don’t have. I have started looking for things that make me happy. Let it be a small achievement, I try to celebrate it. I don’t need to prove anything to the world. Even though I still have huge ambitions in life but now I have started enjoying the journey instead of just concentrating on the goal and the people ahead of me.

It’s not always a happy journey. Life does give us setbacks but we need to get up dust ourselves and try to move on. I recently read a book called the legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna. I just loved a quote from it…

“In English there is a saying ‘when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade’. But in India when life gives us lemons, we turn them into talismans threaded with chillies to protect us from the bumpy roads it takes us on.”

So find a way to cope with the setbacks either with the lemonade or the talismans but don’t look at your friend’s life with jealousy you really don’t know what struggle is going on in his or her life. 

I don’t know how much this will help me in the long run. But right now with this attitude I am happy and at peace. And hopefully I have had a breakup with the green eyed monster…