As everything good and awesome is to be emulated without scruples, I take it upon myself to declare today - along with some parts of the world – as our National Reconciliation Day in Nigeria! I’m so excited at this epochal day. Yes, it is epochal because it will mark the beginning of a beautiful turning point in many people’s life. Reconciliation is a move towards peace, and peace can never be bad.
While forgiveness should be an ever-running, never-stopping course of life for every human; an everyday thing, it is beautifully perfect to declare a day in honour of it. It is even more so at this delicate time where the world is gripped with the fear of COVID-19. Everyone needs a touch of love and an encouragement to pursue peace at this period.
This day is an impetus to actually make the first move at reconciling with that estranged friend, aunt, uncle, nephew, etc. It is never easy to make the first move at reconciliation, especially when the hurt runs bone deep and the memory still stirs a deep pain in the pit of your stomach. We all would most likely need a motivation like a celebratory date in honour of this amazing virtue to do the most needful.
Forgiveness: A Simple Task in a Hard Shell
You can pick up the phone to reach out to that person you have kept away for months or years and find out how they are doing or send a thoughtful SMS or chat, finishing it up with a hearty ‘Happy Reconciliation Day!’. That could be a form of ‘Merry Christmas’.
All these might sound glib and unrealistic to you now, but take a deeper look at it and ask yourself pertinent questions like;
‘10 years from now, will this grouse matter as much? ‘
Will it still carry the same sting as it does now?’
‘What if he dies suddenly, do I want to live the rest of your life regretting you were not on good terms?
‘Will the offence still carry as much weight?’
You need to regularly take time out to ruminate on these questions and the answers you get will inform whether you will take a bold step towards reconciliation or choose to keep stewing in the hotness of the offence. I know I sound philosophical now, but looking at how life is, nobody is really guaranteed the next minute, so why spend it holding on to a burning coal that is best discarded for one’s peace of mind? Is it really worth it?
And don’t get me wrong, forgiving someone does not mean you allow them back into your life to inflict yet another hurt on you. No. That’s not what it is. Forgiveness isn’t foolishness or lack of wisdom – you can forgive someone and still put them at a healthy arm’s length depending on the nature of the offence. What forgiveness does is; release the fellow from the prison you have constructed in your heart thereby releasing yourself too. Actually, you gained even more from this act than your ‘captives’. You stop the fellow from living In your head rent free and messing you up.
One of our popular sayings goes ‘both the inmates and their guards are prisoners.’ They both spend time in prison only that one spends longer time and has very limited freedom of movement than the other.
Breathe In, Out, Forgive
You really shouldn’t allow this National Day of Reconciliation to pass by without experiencing and revelling in the exhilarating joy and relief that forgiveness brings. You stand to gain the most by releasing that person from the prison in your heart. So stop hurting yourself holding on to stale grudges. It is all right to get angry and take offence once in a while – we all do - but it is all wrong to keep holding on to hurts, pressing it tightly to our chest. It is not good for your mental and emotional health.
Let them go. Don’t delay at all. You cannot afford to waste this reconciliation day which might be your best chance to make that beautiful and selfless move. Thinking too much about it will give you scores of reasons why shouldn’t, so like Nike, just do it!
Call that friend, send a warm SMS to that aunt to check her wellbeing, send a chat to that boss who treated you wrongly asking after their well being. These are simple and harmless tasks, aren’t they? The only thing that may get bruised is your ego and I will say, let it. Bruised ego heals and very fast too.
Whether they reply or they reciprocate the warmness is absolutely immaterial here. Don’t be concerned about that. Keep your eye on the goal which is the benefit of being able to go on living with no emotional baggage. And you might be surprised with a gale of enthusiasm from the person, especially at this period where many are bored silly no thanks to COVID-19 induced stay at home order.
And dear reader, today is April 2nd but whichever day you get to read this is your own Reconciliation Day. Make it worth the while.
On this note, I wish you a Happy Reconciliation Day!
I soothe with my pen. Or keyboard. Or both.