"Its either him or me. You choose." Nancy was speaking with her brother Greg. It would be more accurate to say she was speaking "at" her brother Greg, for there wasn't much of a dialogue happening at this moment. Greg tried offering his version of events but Nancy was having none of it. "You're a pr-k." she yelled. Then the phone went silent as Nancy abruptly hung up.
A few moments later my phone rang. Nancy was in a rage. "Do you know what Greg did? He drove all the way up here and didn't even visit me. Instead he visited my ex-boyfriend. I am so mad at him right now. He's going to have to choose. It's either Tom or me. And if he chooses Tom, then I want nothing to do with him ever again." I could tell that Nancy was crying now.
I tried to interject some perspective but Nancy was unable to access her logic. Her emotional pain body had taken firm hold. All she knew was that her brother had chosen her ex-boyfriend Tom over her. "And just when I thought Greg and I were getting closer again. And now he does this."
I tried a different tact. I gently suggested that her brother wasn't visiting her ex-boyfriend. He was visiting his friend. That he and Tom had become good friends during the time she and Tom dated. But the universe decided now was not the time to deliver this kind of message. Nancy was driving and she entered a dead zone for cell coverage just as I was offering my two cents worth.
As it turned out the silence was exactly what Nancy needed. In her disconnected state Nancy took the time to think. With a few deep breaths she began to calm herself down from the emotionally hijacked position she had ascended to. "What exactly was she so upset about?" she pondered. "What was behind her anger?" she inquired.
"Its embarrassment. And hurt. Yes, that was it." It began when she received a phone call from a friend. "I see your brother is in town." It seemed an innocent enough statement, but the fact was Nancy didn't know Greg was in town. At those words Nancy's face began to flush with embarrassment. Then the stake to her heart was the next words - "He's visiting your ex-boyfriend." Within a fraction of a section Nancy had lost her center. Hurt, embarrassment, shame and confusion hit her broad side.
But Nancy sensed there was more. What else was she feeling? Ahhh, there it was. Disappointment. She hadn't seen her brother in several months given his schooling in another Province. She was disappointed that with his first visit to town he had chosen to visit Tom instead of her. She was also disappointed that Greg hadn't told her in advance, but at some level she understood the reason. She and Greg had had a challenging relationship these last few years and Greg knew the kind of response he would encounter had he called her to inform her he was meeting with Tom.
As Nancy wiped away her tears she felt something deeply. She missed her brother, and in her emotionally reactive state had failed to let him know that. After a few more deep breaths to ensure she was grounded, Nancy picked up the phone again. "Greg", she whispered gently. "I just want to let you know that I'm missing you and was disappointed not to see you when you were in town. I'm sorry I got lost in my anger, shame, and disappointment. You are important to me."
And with those few words something miraculous happened. Two tender hearts connected and wounds that had formed over years began to heal. Even more significant was the knowing that humanity can come together again, even after years of hurt and disappointment, to create peace and joy.