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  •  I had an olive branch moment. (19+ / 0-)

    Many years ago, when I was living in Germany as a student. I had fallen in love with a beautiful American girl on the same program I was on. She lived in the same 'dormitory' I did, and we became good friends as soon as the year started. Being a guy, of course, it didn't stay like that, and I pushed things when I shouldn't have, and we had a falling out, the last two months of our year there.

    We did not speak or even look at each other those last two months. It was quite tense, as our group only consisted of nine kids and a resident guidance counselor for the group. And everyone knew we were good people, fun-loving and fun to be around but then silent with one another. Our last week we took an incredible Rhein trip that ended in the Black Forest, with a two day stop across the border in France to take part in a small basketball tournament, two French teams, a German team and our American team. (We got stomped as Americans never got to play together in Europe, and we didn't know each other as teammates, even though we had some talent.) As consolation for our participation we were given two large bottles of fine French wine.

    Then we all boarded a train for the five hour return trip home. Some of the kids were leaving for the US the very next day, as the school year was over, and it was time to return to American life. My fine female counterpart was one of those leaving the next day. The basketball 'warriors' among us got a train compartment to ourselves and began 'processing' the two bottles of wine. Before the first major stop, that was all gone, so ... with another stop coming up, with an 8 minute layover, we had two guys running off the train for more wine before the train ever stopped. They were back with two bottles of German wine this time with two minute to spare. Before the next stop that was all gone, so ... again, with a 7 minute layover this time, two guys were sprinting before the train stopped. With THREE minutes to spare they were back with two new bottles. Finally it got so raucous in our compartment that our counselor came in and confiscated what was left of the wine, prohibiting us from de-training at any subsequent stops ... so things calmed, and we arrived back at our home station after about five hours.

    My female 'friend' was getting a ride back to our dorm with our counselor, I was going to go to a restaurant with a few of our other teammates, and I turned away, with some bitterness, knowing that was the end of it, and what a waste, after an otherwise special friendship with a remarkable person. She came running across the plaza before the train station and put her hand on my shoulder to turn me around. I looked into her eyes, and she said: you've been too important a part of my year abroad for me to leave without saying goodbye to you.

    That was an important life crossroads for me, and I recognized it for that in that instant. I could have given my bitterness and anger and frustration free reign, and turned away. But I did not do that. She melted the hardness in my heart with her fine gesture, and I thanked her in turn for the gift of knowing her for that year.

    We corresponded a bit after that, and I attended her wedding a few months later, friends again, finally. Though I have not seen or heard from her in nearly 40 years, I still cherish that 'olive branch' memory, and the gift of forgiveness she gave me, the chance to let go of anger and bitterness, which I have never experienced since in any similar way.

    Thank you for returning me to this memory, brillig. I appreciate it, as it has been some time since I thought of that experience.

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

    by BeninSC on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:25:57 PM PST

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