Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beyond Acceptance

I do write a lot about reconciliation. It’s an important topic for me as I’ve sought it from a number of people I have loved. Finding true relationship harmony goes way beyond forgiveness and one cannot do it alone. To forgive is easy, but truly reconciling a broken friendship is hard.

I think we confuse simple forgiveness with the deeper act of reconciliation. Forgiveness can lead to tolerance and acceptance, but reconciliation leads to an intimate level of love and trust. It’s not enough to simply tolerate you, and I would hope you would expect more from me. I can tolerate the squirrels that scamper along my backyard fence, but don’t expect me to invite them in for tea.

Consider the act of reconciling a checkbook. I remember back in the day when I would compare my check registry with the monthly statement that came to me from my bank. I was sometimes surprised to find that my number did not match the one on the computer-generated bank report. We failed to balance.

The first step to redeeming an unbalanced checkbook is to acknowledge there’s conflict. If my registry says I should have $300 in an account, but the bank insists I only $220, I can’t ignore the discrepancy—unless I want to deal with overdraft charges, of course.

Step two is to accept responsibility for personal mistakes or wrongs. Maybe my math skills failed me, or perhaps some human bank employee used the wrong numbers or data. If neither one of us takes responsibility for the error, but rather we stand our ground like a two-year old and say, “not me, not me”, there can be no hope of balancing.

The third step is to adjust and fix the problem. Perhaps one of us was given faulty information, or insufficient data. I’d sometimes find I had less money in my account simply because I was too lazy to input a check right away and I just forgot about it. That was never a good thing. There were times, however, when a low-level employee of the financial institution made the error.

Finally, it’s important to absorb the lessons and learn from the mistakes. What could I do to make sure I kept better records? Companies are always doing their best to up their costumer service rating, so if a bank employee made a mistake they were usually quick to fix it—to reverse any unfair charges.

The great thing about reconciling immediately is that we are constantly being given a brand new slate. The first day of each month brings with it the chance to start fresh with no negative carry-over from the previous time period.

Reconciliation is not simply ignoring the problems and sweeping them into a file cabinet somewhere. When we do that there is no learning, no maturing, and the foundation of trust is compromised. If we did that with our financial records we would have no knowledge of what was real—of how much or how little money was actually at our disposal.

So it is with relationships. There must be balance and a pure reflection of truth.

Healthy reconciliation takes effort. We must acknowledge, accept, adjust, and absorb. It’s not easy, but like anything of real value, it’s worth the cost. If you don’t want to invest, there can be no real and true reconciliation. After all, you get what you pay for.

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