This morning on my walk the word reparation floated through my mind as I listened to rippling river waters…
What does it mean to make reparation for an injustice done? One dictionary definition suggests that reparation involves making amends. To reweave the circle, to repair the rent, that is a hole made by tearing apart what once was whole, seems like an image and thought worth pondering especially during these dark winter months that encourage self – reflection and dreaming (but are also rife with declarations of ‘love’ usually expressed as a commodity).
We all make mistakes. Most are not intentional, yet they can inadvertently cause great harm; in some cases these mistakes destroy relationships.
It seems to me that we all have choices here. We can make a decision (set a clear intention) not to allow the past to determine our future. This does not mean that we don’t hold a person accountable for his/her actions. We must, in order to stay present to the truth that we were harmed by another person’s behavior intentional or not.
However, we can still make a choice to remember that we were hurt and still let go. Of course, this is a process, and depending upon the depth of the pain inflicted, it may take a very long time to move through that dark tunnel. We need to be patient with ourselves and with others.
Becoming stuck in anger, or feeling victimized blocks letting go. It is critically important to feel those feelings, but at the same time, not to allow them to drive future interactions with those we care about.
If a breach of trust has occurred then this loss of trust must be taken very seriously because relationships are so complex and fragile and so dependent upon this feeling to flourish.
How do we go about healing a breach of trust? In my way of thinking, acknowledging that we broke the trust of another must come first.
Re-establishing friendly contact by focusing on common ground is helpful in some cases.
But the most important aspect of this healing involves changing our behavior – repeated apologies without demonstrating to the other person that we care enough about them to alter our actions – when words are not followed by actions – apologies becomes meaningless. It is relatively easy to say we are sorry, it is much more difficult to begin to re – establish trust by shifting our behavior. It is worth repeating that trust is forged from the ground up, and the building blocks of the temple of meaningful relationship must rest on a foundation of trust.
When we harm or are harmed by another it is helpful to know that our actions no matter how egregious don’t have to determine the future, and that with intention, attention, patience, and persistence, our damaged relationships can be healed.
Ultimately, forgiveness may be the gift offered without reservation to those who are willing to do this most challenging work.