Olive Branch

In recent weeks, since around the time of the new year commencing, I have maintained my distance from several individuals.

The origins of this discourse, are in the busy Christmas period, when my season of goodwill and joy to all men, gave way to one of my most destructive emotional episodes which resulted in my daughter and I trading insults and worse.

In respect of my much beloved daughter, I took rapid steps, after a cooling off period, to repair the damage and try to explain with as much sincerity and affection and love that I could, that she means the world to me, but I am fragile at times and need to be loved too.

My wife happened to tell me that she thought that our next door neighbours may have been affected by the row, and they have been acting cool towards her.

I emerged from my car one day after these remarks, and I experienced a similar coolness and the result has been an inner response of a complete and utter shutdown to any attempt to communicate with them.

I have this kind off attitude which runneth, that hell will freezeth over before I make any attempt first to speak.

Silly, silly, foolish, attitude.

Similarly, I had a few words with a member of the choir over a request he made of me to call a mutual friend on his behalf which I refused to do.

He and I have been fine since the exchange, but his wife cast me a glance — I say a glance of poison — and I felt my body stiffen and resolve that under no circumstances would I speak or look at her until she had made amends.

Silly, silly, churlish attitude.

In the weeks that followed, keeping up my promise to blank her, I could not be sure that the poison glance had even been directed at me.

Last week, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her walking towards me with intent.

I froze inside, I didn’t know which way to turn, there was no way to avoid the conversation.

It was an olive branch — would I be so kind as to assist her with some new duties she had taken on at church which she knew I was familiar with.

My heart racing, and resisting the ridiculous urge to say that I would not, thankfully responded with politeness and a smile that of course I would be happy to help.

The olive branch was accepted, the impasse broken and to my shame, by her, not me.

And yet, in the hours after the exchange, I wanted desperately to cling on to the hurt and the humiliation of the poison glance and I felt weak for capitulating to her olive branch.

Silly, silly, obstinate attitude.

These feelings of lingering hurt, have there origins in the suffering I experienced as a teenager, struggling to find my identity, struggling to feel safe, struggling to find the acceptance of others whilst not understanding self.

These recent feelings, are a throwback to a less happier time, a time which should have been happier, but I must not allow this type of destructive thinking to cloud my future too.

Olive branch accepted.

Perhaps now, it is time, to extend my own olive branch towards my next door neighbours.

William Defoe