I have always loved watching man and the wife spending quality time together. It gives me joy when a couple displays their affection for each other in public. No, I am not talking about public indecency. I am talking about holding hands in a gathering as they walk, entwining their fingers as they sit side by side, looking into each other’s eyes as they sit across the table at a coffee shop. When I see a couple happy together, it feels like their world is filled with love. The number of these true love birds are very less or negligible I can say, in today’s world. There are more broken families that I find than witnessing some awesome companionship when I look around. And I feel really very sorry and sad about it.
The world divorce rates reveal, Luxembourg is number one with 87% whereas India is 1%. India’s stat looks better but 1 in 100 is so much. In one lakh marriages, the number grows to 1000 divorces. 1% divorce rate in India doesn’t validate that the marriages are without any hassles. There are many in India who forced stay in their marriages either for the sake of their family, society, children or survival. The brokenness still remains if not divorces. Horrible it is!
The divorce not only breaks down the couple it affects their families especially their own children. A child’s trust and dependability get shaken up when his or her parents split ways.
I have a few friends who go through such brokenness even if they are still in their marriages. And both of them are silent and managing because of their children. They don’t want to part ways even if they struggle in their lives because they are more concerned about their child’s future than their own. I have a few more who struggle even after they got out of the wedlock. For all of them, brokenness has never come to an end until today.
In the beginning, God created family in so much care and love. But it hurts me and I feel pain in my heart when I see families broken, whether divorced or forcing themselves in a bond along with their children suffering with them.
Since many years, I have been bearing that burden for all those broken families and I keep praying for all of them who go through that brokenness. And when I got married, God let me encounter a few challenges for myself too to deal with; probably, to train me and to equip me more, so that I can be a help to others.
It is true, “marriages are made in heaven“, but if I have to add further looking at the world around me, then I would say, “yet they are maintained on earth“. If they would have been managed and maintained in heaven as well then there would not have been any brokenness at all.
I feel really sorry, worried for those broken people out of a marriage – a spouse or a child. I literally cry for them and also pray for them so that they reunite or reconcile with their loved ones.
Looking around me, all I can see brokenness everywhere. When I see my friends, my family members and how all of them are going through difficult times my heart sinks down. And in that background writing an article on reconcilliation seems very articfial. But being called to be peaceloving person and a peacemaker, I am always up for reconciliation even when I don’t see a glimpse of hope in a strained relationship.
Let’s get back to the topic.
When psychologist Ryan Howes was asked in a given situation whether a person can forgive and reconcile, his response was – “You can still forgive. Reconciliation is a separate issue“. And he was absolutely right.
He also quotes famous author Lewis Benedictus Smedes who said in his book ‘Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’ that – “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”
All the last SIX factors of reconciliation that we all read till now in this current week can be carried out one sidedly by a person who feels the need of reconciling with his/her loved one but the last factor needs TWO persons to join hands and move ahead to stay reconciled. And history says at this point, many go back to ground zero losing the battle of reconciliation or restoring a broken relationship.
Let’s analyse the phrase ‘making amends‘. The synonym for making amends is Restitution. The legal meaning of restitution is – an order given by a judge to a convicted criminal to make amends for the crime where the judges often order people to pay restitution for the damage they cause. But to mend a broken relationship there’s no need of judiciary system but a system of heart and of love which inspire partners, family members, friends to make amends, restitute and cling to each other thereby, reconciling.
The system of love is as the Bible defines it, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The above concept of love is completely different from what the world teaches us today. Restitution or making amends is not possible unless we have this kind of love. The new law of a reconciled relationship demands me to make amends with my loved one by being patient with him or her which I lacked a lot previously; by being compassionate to my loved one which I failed often in the past; I have to make amends by not being envious, not being boastful or proud or dishonour or be selfish. I have to make amends with my loved one by compensating something which I lacked previously.
Many couples gather strength to reconcile and complete all 6 factors but they step back when they are asked to compensate their wrong, make amends and continue in love. Many times, I myself have lost the battles of making amends with my loved ones, with my wife and continue in love further. I pretend that I am happy and in love yet, I feel empty and deceived. There are many I know that are suffering with pretension and live their lives… They somehow live together but their hearts stay far apart from each other. They try to make amends and reconcile truthfully but they fail.
Friends! Trust me, it is not at all easy. Fogiving and moving ahead seems much easier than making amends and staying in love after reconciling a broken relationship. But the source of love, the creator God always helps us to understand LOVE and its effectiveness in any of our earthly relationships.
At the end, I can just give a simple advice of making a list of the things that can help us to make amends and try one after the other daily, trusting the Almighty and prayerfully staying in love in a reconciled relationship.
Person 1 – “Hey, I’m sorry for it all. This shouldn’t have happened. Would you forgive me for behaving the way I did?”
Person 2 – “Well, it’s good that you realize it. After some tussle within, I had forgiven you in my heart. And, now I tell you the same. Don’t repeat it again with anyone else.”
Person 1 – “Hoooofff! I’m relieved. Now that we are friends again, let’s go hiking this Saturday.”
Person 2 – “I hold nothing against you in my heart. But, the whole episode has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t think it’s possible to go back to old times. We can’t be friends anymore.”
Person 1 – “How can you say that? I mean . . . we’ve been friends for decades and then this happens and you decide to walk away after saying that you’ve forgiven me. We’ve got to be friends again to prove that actually, all is well between us and that you have indeed forgiven me.”
Person 2 – “Sorry, forgiving doesn’t mean you and I need to be friends again. It simply means that I hold no grudge against you now. If ever we crossroads in life in the future, it’ll be in a clean-slate mode. No past record will hold either you or me hostage. However, I am not comfortable going back to being friends with you.”
Person 1 – “You can give it a chance. You could try trusting me once more.”
Person 2 – “That’s not something which I want to do. And, you need to respect that.”
Person 1 – “Initially, I was doubtful as to whether you would forgive me in the first place. But, I was relieved to know that I stand forgiven. But, I guess, I became a bit too ambitious by expecting more. Somebody said rightly, ‘Actions have consequences’.”
Person 2 – “Rightly said, ‘Actions have consequences.’ I can’t trust you with myself anymore.”
Person 1 – “Well then, here we part. I lost a friend. Good tidings to you!”
Person 2 – “Good tidings to you, too!”
This is a conversation between two friends involved in a conflict. Though there is forgiveness, there is no reconciliation. The reason being a denial of one party to the conflict, to restore old ties.
Once bitten twice shy – is an old saying. A requirement of reconciliation is two agreeing parties. This does not always happen. No matter for whatever reasons there is denial, it ought to be respected after an initial attempt to reason out.
Relationships cannot and should not be forcibly restored. The denying party has a right to personal space unless convinced otherwise.
This is true especially in case of a divorce between a married couple or a break-up after a romantic stint since deep-rooted emotions are involved in the relationship-building-up phase.
Hence the bottom line is that on the path to Reconciliation, one may face a roadblock called Denial. It has to be confronted with Reason. If Reason succeeds in displacing Denial with Convincing, Reconciliation is a short distance away. However, if Reason fails, the process needs to come to an end with due respect for the personal right to space being provided.
If the process of Reconciliation comes to an end without the desirous result, one way to resort to is prayer. Persistent prayer of faith changes situations and transforms hearts. It doesn’t breach the space of the other, yet continues its relentless persuasion.
“Chocolate?” asked Pihu offering a bar of Silk Cadbury.
“No. Thanks! Pihu you know I don’t eat chocolates, don’t you?” snapped Samar.
“Chill…chill, I just tried Ok? Just like I have been trying for last 6 years. But you don’t seem to be willing to move on.” Pihu stormed out of the room leaving Samar alone. She knew well that today Samar would want to be secluded. It has always been like that. Every year, 25th July would be a dark day. Samar would often spend the whole day without talking much and would be in a somber mood. Pihu knew what the reason was and she felt as much pain, but Samar never saw her pain bigger than his. Samar was in his own cocoon of grief and guilt. Not that he never tried to accept what had happened, but he failed every time. Life may not always give a second chance and that is exactly what Samar was regretting.
Samar was carrying immense guilt for last six years. He blamed himself for Sagar’s death. Sagar regretted not having returned home earlier than he did. He could never reason to himself why it took ten long years to muster the courage and approach his own family. So what if Amish was not his biological father, it never made Amish love him less. So what if Sagar was a step brother? Samar could never love him any less, not even today when he was dead. And what about Ruma? How could he abandon her? She had given him birth, raised him loved him so much and had saved him from his (so called) real father. What had happened if Ruma had decided to dump him in a garbage bin because she was too young to care of such a small baby all alone? What had happened if Ruma had left him to grow up with his smuggler dad? Samar couldn’t count his blessings in the form of his family and even then he estranged himself from them for ten years. He never thought about what they must be going through after he just walked away from home one night. Samar could never forgive himself for causing so much pain to the most important people in his life.
Samar continued to drown deeper in the cyclone of guilt. He regretted that the box of chocolates his mother had packed for him and that note Sagar had left inside could never reach him that day. Sagar wanted to tell him something that he couldn’t on that day when he walked away from his family. But alas, Samar would never know what it was. That secret died with Sagar. Only if he had kept his hurt aside and returned home earlier, perhaps he could have known about Sagar’s ailment earlier and could have taken him to the best of the doctors. May be, Sagar’s condition would have never deteriorated. May be Sagar could have lived more? Only if he had handled that evening when Sagar blamed him to be unfit in the family more maturely, all four of them would have never wasted 10 years of their life. Only if…. Only if… and more Only ifs! But regrets have no value. It was too late. Sagar succumbed to kidney failure on 25th July, six years ago. It was exactly one day after Samar had decided to take the Road To Home, but Sagar was gone, gone forever! His little brother had travelled to heavens and the family was incomplete once again! Samar did not get enough time to say the final goodbye! Samar wanted to apologize to Sagar for leaving him alone for 10 years, he wanted to tell him how much he had missed him all these years, he wanted to tell him how much he loved him even then, but Sagar didn’t give him a chance. Or was it destiny?
“No Ma, Samar has not had food.” Pihu was talking to Ruma on phone. Ruma would call every night to check on her son and daughter-in-law.
“Hmm… as expected. But beta, you have the dinner.” Ruma advised with a concern for Pihu.
“Yes Ma, don’t worry. I have had dinner already. Ma, it’s been 6 years and none of us have been able to do anything about Samar’s behavior. I am worried about him. I just fail to understand how to take care of him on this very day every year. I understand that it was a very big loss to the family, but how this behavior is going to help? It pains me to see him carry that guilt because it is slowly killing him Ma. He doesn’t understand that neither you nor daddy holds him responsible for Sagar’s death. He fails to understand that Sagar went away untimely not because of him but because of destiny” Pihu was pouring out her helplessness to Ruma
“I understand how tough it must be for you beta. But you are the only one who can do something really. Amish and I have attempted several times. But he never opens up in front of us. Never mind, don’t feel pressurized. Let’s hope that Samar overcomes his guilt some day!” Ruma gave up, like always!
“Hmm… Let’s hope so! I will talk to you tomorrow Ma. Don’t forget to have your medicines before going to sleep. Bye!” Unwilling to discuss further, Pihu cut short the conversation.
She went to the kitchen to make one last attempt to make Samar have dinner. She took his plate to the place she expected him to be at – right in front of Sagar’s portrait in the drawing room. Samar had switched off the lights, probably to hide the tears streaming down his cheeks. He had clasped his hands together and bowed his head down as if he was apologizing to Sagar for not being able to save him.
Pihu placed his dinner plate on a side table and hugged him tight. She couldn’t see Samar like this. Both of them couldn’t stop crying. Samar was crying for having lost his brother to the hands of destiny and Pihu was crying because she was losing her husband to the hands of guilt. They stood still for, god knows, how many minutes like that and then suddenly something struck Pihu.
She set Samar free from her embrace, turned him around wildly and said,
“Samar, Sagar is going to come back home. He is going to be with us soon. We all are going to live like one happy family again!”
“What???” shrieked Samar. “Have you gone mad? Does the dead ever rise from the grave?”
“Believe me Samar; we are going to have Sagar back. You are going to be able to jump into puddles with him when it rains – just like you did in the childhood. You are going to be able to do everything again Samar– right from waking him up to bathing him, getting him dressed and taking him to school, bringing him home, giving him lunch, making him sleep, helping him do his homework and then playing with him. You are going to have your Sagar back Samar!” Pihu spoke in one breath. She felt as if it was a Eureka moment!
Samar looked at her in disbelief and questioned, “How is it possible Pihu?”
“I am pregnant Samar. The reports say that the expected date of delivery is 15th January. Isn’t that Sagar’s birthday? Life is going to give us a second chance Samar! Sagar wants to come back home.”
And the news seemed like unburdening all of Samar’s heaviness in minutes letting Pihu know that the healing process has finally started after so long.
The surging of emotions were so much that Samar got choked. He wasn’t expecting that he will find Sagar in this condition. All three of them were in tears as they hugged each other in happiness as well as in deep sorrow. There was happiness of Samar coming back and at the same time there was the pain of Sagar’s sudden sickness.
Sagar was unconscious for quite sometime till he got back to his senses after he was given the emergency treatment. Samar and his parents were waiting outside… sitting and praying for their child to get back consciousness and recover quick so that they all can make merry and celebrate as a whole family together after 10 long years. Ruma and Amish were just thanking God for bringing Samar at the right moment when they needed someone very close to be there to take care of all the situation that came up so sudden. At this age when they were supposed to take rest they had to rush to the hospital with their well grown up son in an emergency condition.
“He got back his consciousness but the condition is very critical… we need to discuss about something very serious and emergency as soon as possible…” The doc came out of the emergency ward and declared with a very serious voice which was unbearable for Ruma. Samar clasped her hands in his and assured that nothing will happen to Sagar and he would never let anything happen to Sagar.
Samar asked, “Doc, may I just meet my brother once and then we can discuss about the matter… I will be looking after everything…” He declared clearly looking at the doctor as well as to his parents making them feel proud as well as relieved. And when the doctor nodded and went his way they all walked towards the room to see Sagar.
Samar’s legs and hands were cold and there’s a chilling sensation in his spine that he was feeling as he walked slowly behind his parents. He felt as if he will fall down. His emotions were making his whole body to shake in excitement. There was an amazing joy that was bubbling out of his heart with a feeling of fear and apprehension about losing his brother again. Ruma could not control herself and started sobbing at the very sight of Sagar in a very pathetic condition. She had never seen him so vulnerable and helpless before and her motherly heart was broken to pieces. Amish went ahead of them and caressed Sagar’s forehead and called his name, “Sagar… Look, who has come to meet you…”
Samar tried to appear as soon as possible in front of his eyes before he opens it so that he can have a look at his beloved baby brother for sometime as he was scared to meet eyes with his. Sagar didn’t open his eyes immediately as he was in deep pain. He made a painful grunting sound…
“Saa… Sagg… Sagerr… Beta… it’s me… Bhai…” Samar’s feeble voice hit Sagar’s ears hard and he opened his eyes wide right away and could not believe whom he saw… He was astounded completely… He was unable to express his feelings… Samar held out his younger brother’s hand as he started weeping like a child looking at him… And the atmosphere was very pathetic… Sagar was dumbfounded and was unmoved with the storms of emotions were ready to burst out of him… His tears were rolling down his cheeks… Samar bent down on his brother and wiped his tears with his fingers whispered softly, “I am back my baby bro… And I will never ever leave you again…” Samar smiled and clasped Sagar’s palms with his. Samar leaned down further to hug his brother lying on the bed and they hugged… Samar kissed his cheeks and forehead as they both wept in joy of meeting together after a decade. Samar controlled himself and sensibly so, as it was not very safe for Sagar to be too excited or emotional at that critical time. He excused himself after sometime and went to meet the doctor.
Samar had a very thorough discussion with the doctor understanding the condition of Sagar and he had never ever imagined that he will have to go through all these all of a sudden in his life. Sagar’s kidneys were damaged and he needed a transplant within two days to live further. Samar didn’t wait for a minute and paid all the amount that was needed for the kidney and the surgery was fixed right away the very next day. The family of four was not quite feeling steady with all kinds of emotions pressing them harder from all sides making them extremely unstable.
The very next morning all of them were in Sagar’s room as he was getting ready to be taken inside the operation theater… He was very happy seeing his brother, his father like brother with him and his parents at this difficult time yet he wondered, “how come this man forgot every hurts that I inflicted on him 10 years ago!” He called Samar near him and softly said, “Thanks Bhai… Thanks for forgiving this idiot and being with the whole family at this time…” Samar listened to him and warned him saying, “Now, shut up kiddo… Don’t you know, ‘a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity?’” Samar gave him and the parents the hope that Sagar will be alright soon, before the nurse rolled his stretcher in the corridor towards the OT. Sagar showed his thumb to his family cheering them as he entered the OT and the door was closed.
Samar was hopeful yet was regretting for his step 10 years ago which literally make the whole family go through such pain like this. But Ruma and Amish were happy finding their broken family coming together at last. Ruma, let her heart poured out to Samar… letting him know the secret which was hidden for years as they were waiting outside for the dreadful surgery to get over.
Samar reached home with his head reeling with many thoughts laced with confusion which ceased to clear. Amidst all the haze that clouded his mind his trembling fingers dialled “HOME” on his phone.
“Shall I speak“, “what shall I speak“, “who would answer the call“, “will they recognise my voice and if yes how they are going to react” again the same questions rallied as phone was ringing on the other end.
“Hello” a voice answered, it was his mother’s. That one word muted Samar, and flow of tears would refuse to stop. It’s been ten long years. Ten long years filled with melancholy and a void left behind. “Is the feeling mutual” Samar would ponder. “Hello, who’s this” his mother spoke again expecting a response from the other side and this brought Samar back to senses. “Sorry wrong number” Samar replied, just the way he decided and hurriedly disconnected the call.
On the other side Ruma held the receiver close to her heart. For mother she is she recognised at once that it was him, it was Samar, her son. She thanked God for answering her prayers and in a way finishing her incomplete quest for her son. She couldn’t meet him when she set out to search for him and had to return back home from midway as Amish unexpectedly fell ill and was home early. Now this call did raise her hopes. “Finally My Family will be together” she sighed with content and went to sleep.
But a call to her mother made Samar restless and sleep eluded him yet again. After hearing her mother now he wanted to see her. “Don’t be greedy Samar. Do you even know if you are wanted there? Don’t make a fool of yourself” he said to himself and rested his head on pillow facing the ceiling. But again the turmoil within him raged and this time he ended rebuking himself “enough of this battle, I am tired of restraining myself. She is my mother, my father, my brother, that’s My Family. Just once I need to see them, Just Once! Decided, I will go and see them before I rest in peace. Rest is destiny” Samar’s thoughts echoed strong enough this time. Haze seemed to be setting down with his shutting eyelids.
Next day he applied for a leave. He did muster lot of courage to pick up car keys and take a ROAD TO HOME. Those few miles seemed to be the longest stretch ever. All the years gone flashed before his eyes.
As he was about to enter the gate of the apartments he saw an ambulance waiting in the building premises. Nothing alarmed him until he saw his mother getting in and closing the door behind her.
Before he could call her out the ambulance started. Without wasting a second he started following the ambulance. This is something Samar never imagined or wanted to be greeted with. “But who it could be? Is it father? What might have happened? Why the hell is it happening with me all the time?” Now Samar was fretting and nervous. All the pain that he was reluctant to show to this world was venting out as his frustration when he saw the ambulance stuck in traffic jam. He was honking relentlessly urging people to clear way for the ambulance.
Finally they reached hospital and the patient was hurried to the emergency ward but Samar missed who it was as he had to park the car. In about two minutes he reached the reception huffing, catching for the breath “Emergency, emergency ward? Wh..where it is Mam?“
“First floor, extreme left cor…” Receptionist was about to finish but Samar couldn’t even wait for her to finish, said “Thanks you” and dashed towards the stairs. With each step as he was inching closer to the Emergency Ward his fears and apprehensions loomed larger and larger. And yet at another corner of his heart he was praying that nothing unforseen and unwanted should happen.
He finally saw his mother, standing outside, grief-stricken and worn out. “Ma” Samar reached out to her and that was it. She clung to his shirt, rested her head on his chest and let her pain drench his heart. He embraced her tightly and not a word said.
After few seconds “Ma, what happened to Papa” and there was a tap on shoulder before Ruma could answer Samar. It was Amish standing behind him. Samar was happy to know that his father is fine and hugged him as a child expressing the relief he was experiencing.
“Where’s Sagar” Samar questioned them in a meek voice and short lived his happiness was as his father pointed towards the Emergency Ward.
Samar turned pale to see his beloved younger brother, his Sagar there…
“Samar, are you alright buddy? You look lost!” asked one of his colleague. Samar was startled. Samar told him that he was fine and then he went out to have some coffee. He took a sip of his ordered coffee and drifted back to his world of thoughts and emotions. He felt all jittery, after he had sent the flowers and the card. He couldn’t help thinking about the reactions of his mother, his step-father and Sagar, only if they told him. He didn’t know what the answer to the question he had asked was. He was desperate to know. He thought about all aspects of how the present conditions might be. Along with each kind of situation, there was a different emotion associated. He could feel all of them. He wanted this to stop for some time. He wanted a little peace, a little sleep and finish a little undone work. Although his logical brain was finding his emotional heart illogical, it had given up for the moment. His heart was in total control of his body.
Once he thought, ” May be they have adjusted to the fact that, they now have to live without me. They understood my decision at that point and have moved on. They are the authentic family after all and I was the odd one out there. Of course, I moving out was the greatest plan. I hope I did bring them together and have left them with times to cherish.” His heart had mixed feelings for this thought. A little happy, a little proud, a little satisfied and a little sad. “I hope, Sagar has a good career and is into something creative. I hope he is still a good student as he was before. I want to see him very successful when we meet, if we meet.” He said to himself. He also thought, ” Might be everything is not so good. Might be leaving Sagar behind all alone, at that point, wasn’t such a good idea. What if he did something very bad after I left, fearing our parents’ wrath? ‘OUR’; he thought and then corrected himself, ‘HIS, his parents’.” He felt troubled thinking about it. Sagar still was his life. He couldn’t think about Sagar being harmed in any way.
“What if?” he thought, “Are they in good health? Are they able to take care of themselves? Are they living a happy life?” The deep pain forced him to stop thinking more about it. He just wanted to see them all and hoped they were fine. He prayed, “God, please, keep them all safe and sound. Give them all a very long life. I really want to see them happy together. Smiling and enjoying time with each other.” This thought troubled him so much that he continuously chanted the prayer. He took another sip of his coffee, which was now ice cold. How is it so cold? Hadn’t I ordered it 5 minutes ago? He looked at his watch. To his horror, he was sitting there for almost 20 minutes now, lost in his thought world. He then, finished his coffee and hurried to his desk to complete his pending works. He had so much to be done and yet was able to do nothing. “Coming to office, isn’t working for me today, I should have taken a leave. I should sleep more. I am not able to concentrate and I have a lots to do for this financial year. How will I reach my target? If I am not efficient, I won’t be a good example either. I really need to focus. I can go home and think about them with ease”, he tried hard to divert himself. Diversion did work for almost the whole of 5 minutes. He had almost reached his thought bubble, when another thought struck him. “What if I could just get my mother’s phone number?”
This idea gave him those ticklish butterflies. He started searching for it, in all ways possible. He asked the persons who told him about his parent’s whereabouts, if they had their numbers. He searched online, many sites, social sites, but it wasn’t there anywhere. He tried to search for official sites, if he could find just anything. In the end, he found a landline number. He quickly fed the number in his mobile as he wanted to save it. He instantly wrote ‘HOME’, and then stared at it, painfully. He erased it and wrote ‘SAGAR’S HOME’. He went out again, staring at his mobile phone, thinking hard to dial it or not. He said to himself, “I won’t talk if anyone answers it, or I will say it’s a wrong number or will call as a sales executive, or something. I just want to hear their voice. Any one of them.”