My baby brother's engagement coincided with some less-than pleasant circumstances in my own life. I was definitely not at my best and as a result, his fiance did not get a very pleasant first impression of me... or second.
It took a long time for things to get better between my sister-in-law and me.
I started with a friend request that she didn't accept. I didn't know exactly why, so I asked.
I thank her for what she did next- she sent me an email that explained what I'd done and how she felt about it. I don't know if she realizes, but this was a wonderful gift. It gave me a place to start, something to work with. Before that email, I had no idea that I'd hurt her so badly and in so many ways!
I apologized as best I could and got an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner in return! My apology, incomplete as it had been, had been accepted! I had the opportunity to be in their home, to get to know this new member of our family and some of her many talents. I got to see my brother as a dad, got to know a little about my awesome new nephew. It was wonderful. And I'm thankful for a forgiving sister-in-law who made it possible.
The reality is that lines of communication get broken all the time. But they can be repaired. It takes humility and a willingness to ask what the hurt is. It takes love and a desire to repair the relationship. It requires a willingness to apologize for a lot of things- things you don't remember doing, things you had good reason for doing, and for things you didn't understand. And it takes a willingness to forgive for those same kinds of things, even when you don't understand or agree with or like the reasons that drove those hurtful choices.