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Reflections January 2016

Agelessly Yours

The Olive Branch – Which Way Does It Go Again?

By Karen White-Walker

You’d think I was asking her to explain the Pythagorean Theorem, for Pete’s sake, by the dazed expression that swept over her face. “Look, she snapped, “that was over 40 years ago; do you really expect me to remember it now?! But let me tell you that it deeply hurt my feelings.”

World peace? Yeah, right, we’ll get right on it. If families who share the same gene pool, same environment, beliefs and cultures can’t get along, how can we even BEGIN to imagine harmony with people who share nothing in common? Nothing in common, that is, except that the entire human race is God’s masterpiece designed in His image and made superior to all the animals and fishes of the land and sea. Animals haven’t any conception of death so they draw blood and kill. What’s our excuse? And unlike animals we humans can both laugh and cry. Isn’t that proof that we all share the same emotions to relate to one another?

How many of us know weirdos who are perpetually angry with someone or something? They seem to only thrive when there’s discord and strife around them. It’s almost like they need their daily fix. Well, they’re not going to drag most of us into their toxic cesspools! It kills me when I meet people who claim that they haven’t talked to their sister in 40 years, or a brother in 30. You think I’m about to confess that I haven’t talked to a family member in five minutes? “Too disgustingly codependent,” they will scoff, and then I’ll start analyzing my actions, but realizing that it’s not healthy to dissect everything we say and do.

“Why haven’t you talked to your sibling?” I nosily asked one woman.

“On October 23, 1975, at 1:28 p.m. she made an insulting remark to me and unless she apologizes I’ll never ever speak to her again!”

“If you don’t mind, what was the remark?” I pressed on.

You’d think I was asking her to explain the Pythagorean Theorem, for Pete’s sake, by the dazed expression that swept over her face. “Look, she snapped, “that was over 40 years ago; do you really expect me to remember it now?! But let me tell you that it deeply hurt my feelings.”

“You’ll be hurting a lot more if something happens to your sister, and you’ve wasted all those years without making amends. Once they’re gone there aren’t any second chances and the guilt that might plague you will forever mean that they have won.”

Now I have to ask you, who would ever guess that I’m not a psychologist, or have never even taken a correspondence course in human behavior?

“Guess I should make the first move?” this grudge holding woman asked.

“The bigger person always does,” I reassured her.

Sometimes I talk so high and mighty when I myself let a day or two go by without contacting a loved one because I’m miffed about something. But maybe that’s the difference: I let a day, not months, and never ever years, go by without extending the olive branch. And who doesn’t sometimes want to shove that olive branch you-know-where, but that’s such a contradiction to what the olive branch symbolizes. Besides, adults must display maturity and that means composure and dignity at all times, because isn’t that what it means to be an adult?

Like I should know.

On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day my daughters and son expect a card from me to them, claiming they helped raised me. How pathetic! I suppose I should be offended by such an evaluation, but with our own blood we must allow huge margins for the sake of preserving the delicate fabric of the family, for it’s not made of horsehair – more like soft satin or lace. And don’t think I’m not aware that for the sake of maintaining peace, an awful lot of people have to pop down pills for high blood pressure and migraines that only mask the symptoms – they don’t get to the root cause. Just think if we could all use a lighter and more playful tone when arguing or trying to make a statement. Oh, how anger and resentment would dissipate like a puddle absorbed under the soothing sun.

There are people prone to hysteria and they have to lock themselves into their bedroom and practically stuff the mattress down their throats to keep their loved ones from hearing them scream. Some have to limp to chiropractic offices for lower back pain caused by stress, and sometimes they pay an extremely high price for keeping silent and a falsely serene façade – and then wham! A stroke or heart attack hits them for stifling how they really feel toward one another. Stroke and heart attack: please hold that thought, and by the way, have a great 2016!

 

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