The Olive Branch.


This week, I attempted to reconnect with a very important person in my life. It’s been two years since we fell out and ceased contact. Numerous times, over that two years, I’ve recounted the angry conversation that caused our estrangement. What was said? Who said it? What was the root cause of our anger with each other? What might the result have been if we’d approached the conversation with love not fear?

Unexpectedly, I awoke on Monday morning feeling immense grief.  I was sad at the thought that our brief yet terse conversation had severed one of the longest and most significant relationships of my life. As I took my morning walk, a deep sense of knowing that I had to reach out, came over me. I thought, if one single conversation can destroy a relationship, surely one single conversation can repair it, or at least start the reparation process? All great change starts with a conversation, right?

I sat down on a bench and drafted a short text. It was friendly and warm with no mention of the past or our estrangement, just a suggestion for a catch up over dinner on a specific date in December. It’s impossible to heal rifts via text but I hoped that it would be good for extending that initial olive branch. Also in my experience, an invitation to enjoy a meal together is the perfect catalyst for a meaningful conversation. As I hit send on the text with love, I let out a deep sigh of relief. It just felt right.

As I continued on my walk, more questions came up. Would I even get a response? If I did, what would it be? A thank you and YES to the dinner invitation? A big NO, and don’t contact me again? Or a non-committal ‘let me think about it’?  Even if we did meet for dinner, could we have a conversation that would be helpful and healing for both of us? Could we start our relationship anew, with fresh thinking, an open mind and an open heart?

After all these questions, there was nothing to do but let go of any attachment to the outcome. I’d taken the first step and that was all I could do for now. I arrived home happy and at peace, ready to jump into work.

The next day, I received a text response. It was short, neither cold nor warm, neither a YES or a NO, but a maybe. I have hope, yet no idea right now if we’ll catch up on that date in December for a conversation, but I won’t give up. I’ll keep extending the olive branch till it’s accepted or rejected and I’ll do my best not to lose any more sleep over it.

Is there someone you feel compelled to extend the olive branch to right now? No matter the outcome, I guarantee you won’t regret it. In the end, love is all there is and anything is possible.

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With love

About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through keynote speaking, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement, the purpose storytelling course and The Purpose Project Coursea 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.