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Repairing rifts and returning to the good times

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP Contributing Writer
| April 28, 2021 1:00 AM

Repairing a broken relationship is about finding what went wrong and where and when and why. Asking those hard “wh” questions, which if successfully worked through can yield a relieved “whew,” a save.

The British brothers, William and Harry, seem to be attempting to navigate their rift now they've recently been brought together at the funeral of their grandfather Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. A friend of both brothers remarked, “It is often said that funerals are moments of reconciliation and that is a sight, to be honest, that many people really wanted to see. Not least those in the family themselves.”

Whenever a close bond between people is damaged or destroyed there is going to be hurt and sorrow, anguish and regret. Iat's the way of the human heart. Any of these feelings can generate anger. Anger often morphs the grievance into a relational “sword fight.”

William and Harry, as part of their growing up, trained in the art of fencing. Now their combative parry and thrust is on display for the world to see.

Anyone keeping up with their story probably sides with one brother or the other. Older versus younger. Rebel versus loyal royal. Yet it's revealing that most people want a happy ending—or maybe a hopeful beginning.

Why is that? One reason might be those who have experienced some sort of close relationship wreckage know how miserable it is—no matter how you spin it. We might have also experienced a reconciliation and know there's nothing like the feeling of making things right.

There is comfort in reaching for what that person once meant to us, and finding it still there. Or in establishing a relationship that hasn't been — and seeing it become what it can be.

A friend — when asked at her 80th birthday party what advice she remembered from her mother — said, “She told me I should always try to forgive and make it up with the person who offends me, because I'd never know what good times I might be missing in the future with that person.” I had never heard reconciliation described quite like this. It fits.

William and Harry ideally have many years ahead to enjoy those good times with each other again. An estrangement was never in the plan. Like anyone, they haven't known quite what to do with it. They've got their public and private pride.

Who will make the first move to repair the breach. The one who cares more? The one whose ego bends a little easier? The fencer who sees the wisdom in mending fences?

Close ties with others are there to bring good in our lives, to strengthen and encourage us. Meaningful relationships are for protecting, for renewing, and, for reconciling.

They are for rescuing, if it can be done — because there is no save like getting back what's missing.