If you’re one of those people who says you can’t understand how you can forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt, how you can be silent when injustice abounds, or how you can rest when you must make amends; I would say you already know how, if you know how to sleep.
Even if you sleep poorly, you know how to sleep. Even if you don’t know how to get to the land of nod, you get there, almost every night, somehow.
To get to sleep, there are things you can do, but doing things only gets you so far. If you want to sleep, it’s best to be active during the day. Exercise will help you sleep because it makes you tired. You can’t be hungry when you go to sleep. It’s best to have a comfortable place to doze off, one that’s quiet, dark, and warm. The next thing you do to get to sleep is to follow a bedtime routine in which you wind down and cue your body to rest. Then, when your head hits the pillow, if you must think, it’s better to think of just one thing, rather than everything at once.
However, once you get to a certain point, you don’t get to sleep by doing things. You’re required to stop doing, and just be. Then, as far as your conscious mind is concerned, as you fall asleep, you cease to be. As scary as it sounds, when you remove your ego’s defenses, sleep will take over.
So, will peace.
Just like sleep, there are certain things you can do to facilitate peace.
You can’t still be in danger and have peace; you must do what it takes to convince your partner to stop hurting you or you must escape.
You can’t expect to give away cheap pardon and have enduring peace; nor can you expect to have peace when you have an axe to grind, are swept away by your emotions, or are picking your sores. You have to wind down and cue your mind to accept peace, just as you cue your body to accept sleep.
You need to recognize the value of peace. Perhaps this comes when you are tired of waring with your loved one, or when you see what war can do. You get tired of war when war doesn’t achieve the things you want; when the arguments, the reprisals, and the revenge don’t get you anything good.
Guilt is famous for keeping people up nights, unless they do something to make amends. Just as the bumper stickers say: if you want peace, then do justice.
If these things you can do to facilitate peace look familiar, that’s because you just read a whole book about doing them. If you have worked towards reconciliation, then you’ve worked towards peace, even if you haven’t made it all the way.
If you achieve reconciliation, you get peace along with it. You can bed down beside your partner and sleep well for once.
If you don’t make it to reconciliation, at some point, you have to stop and settle for the personal variety of peace, as you would settle down to sleep, even if there’s a lot to do.
Has he done nothing to deserve forgiveness? You don’t have to forgive for all time. As long as you’re safe, you can forgive for today and accept peace.
Does she still not understand what you’re angry about? You’ve done all you can do now. Stop trying to convince her and accept peace.
Do you still have a debt you must pay, a wrong you must right, a transgression for which you must atone? Once you’ve done what you can do, you can rest and be at peace, so you can do more tomorrow.
In the same spirit, this book must come to an end sometime. I’ve said as much on the subject of reconciliation that I can say, for now. Maybe I’ll have more to say later. If so, I’ll write a second edition. I’ve done everything I can do, like a travel guide, to describe the road to reconciliation; the rest is up to you, to travel the road and see if what I have said is true for you.
That, too is what personal peace is like. You do what you can do towards reconciliation; but your loved one has to join you to make all the way. If she does, then great. If she doesn’t, then you can be at peace that you have done your part.