It was in early 2020 when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle startled the global community by stepping down from royal duties and relocating to California. The media, ever hungry for drama, has since speculated broadly on Harry and brother William’s relationship. Did Harry move because of a falling out between the boys, and their respective families? Did the move itself cool their affection?
The attraction of peace
While the raw face of their private interactions may never, appropriately, reach our smartphones there is something to be said for the latest lens the media has applied. Reconciliation. A photo of the brothers, side by side, following their grandfather’s funeral. The unveiling of their mother Diana’s statue. The media knows we’re interested in distanced parties coming together because it tugs at the edges of something poignant and necessary in each of our lives.
To live is to experience brokenness, in our relationships as much as in ourselves. We are all familiar with the sharp sting of unresolved conflict, and the dull ache that replaces it, if healing doesn’t flow.
The ebb and flow of flawed relationships
The breaking and mending of relationships isn’t always on grand scales. I witness it come and go quietly in the workplace, and not so quietly in my lounge room.
I found COVID lockdown profoundly challenging as a single parent to three lively little ladies. In a recent stint I phoned my dad at the end of a tiring day. Dad and I are close, so the conversation quickly moved deeper. I was relishing the refreshment and connection of adult conversation, my first in more than three days.
Several of my kids, however, had other ideas. One in particular kept trying to interrupt me until finally I put down the phone and exploded. “What?” I yelled, frustrated and distressed. “What do you want?!”
I went on to lament that this was my first opportunity for peer relationship after days of working from home while looking after all their needs. I was furious that they were intruding on something for which I felt so desperate. My daughter was speechless. She listened, looked down, and exhaled slowly.
I apologised to my dad, hung up and left the room, hot tears chasing messy hair down my face. It turned out she just wanted to talk to my dad herself. A natural, even wonderful, inclination. She had little capacity to understand what an uninterrupted conversation meant to me at that moment.
She was probably weathered by the lockdown and missing her friends as much as I was.
Reconciliation on the shoulders of friends
I’ll never forget the scene that followed. While the daughter that had interrupted called my dad back, I sunk into my office chair and bit my lip. Suddenly, one of my other girls approached. In one arm she balanced the iPod with its speaker, playing a lyrical piece she knew I loved. Clasped in her other hand, our favourite soft toy, which she offered to me gently.
As I gratefully received `Ruby` bear, her little hand stretched around my shoulders and she kissed me. Then she just waited there, her face close to mine. “I love you, Mummy,” she whispered.
Fuel to make amends
Reconciliation comes easier when we experience love. Sometimes that love is from the person with whom we have experienced the conflict. Sometimes it is another person who comes alongside us in our pain. And sometimes (always?) it is from God, who created reconciliation in the first place. 2 Corinthians 5:19 tells us that God `reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation`. May that ministry grow in our hearts as we reconnect with God, as we make peace with each other, and as we support others in that process.
For more information on biblical peacemaking courses in your area, visit https://peacewise.org.au/peacewiseyou/
*The above story is shared with the permission of those involved.