I am facing a problem due to my hot temper. There is a person who I insulted heavily, and now she won't forgive me. While the teaching of the Church requires us to do all that is "up to us" to make peace with someone, I find it hard to recognize the proper measure - how far do I need to go to do all that is "up to me"? I would say there is a border beyond which one would become a stalker. Having obsessive-compulsive disorder I find it extremely hard to recognize it - there is always a lingering doubt - did I REALLY do all I could?
I need to give you an example, as this is the worst conflict I have. I'll try to make it as short as possible. The story is with made up names. This is like a confession. Yes, I confessed this to my priest, and he told me I did everything I reasonably could, but I don't have peace. I thank every person who'll have enough patience to read this post, and give me their best advice. This is a LONG one.
My parents had a best man and a bridesmaid who were also a married couple. We'll call them the Smiths. It may be of importance to mention that it wasn't a Church wedding, and the Smiths aren't practicing Christians (neither are my parents). Anyway, they had been friends since about 1970. The Smiths have two daughters. The older one, we'll call her Sandy, is five years older than me, while the younger one, we'll call her Elena, is my age. Elena and I had been friends for almost our entire life, while I haven't been friends with Sandy, due to our age difference and very different characters.
It is safe to say that Sandy has been raised as a spoiled child, her parents' favorite, and fruits of this can be noticed to this day, even though we are all grown ups and she is over 40. My parents tolerated quite a few disparities in their friendship with the Smiths, but they always used to say: "They are not bad, they are just like that." Now, the spirit of this post is not to gossip, so I'll cut this part short. However, there was an important event 15 years ago and I have to mention it. Sandy got married in 1999, and while my parents were invited to the wedding, I wasn't.
Here's why that is important. Last year, I got married, and I insisted that we don't invite Sandy. It is clear that I don't like her very much and that I think that she wants a special treatment in everything. And I thought: why should I invite her when she barely says "hi" to me and she didn't invite me to her wedding? So, we invited the rest of the Smith family: my parents' best man and bridesmaid from 40 years ago (the elderly Smiths), and their younger daughter, my friend Elena, with her boyfriend.
It turned out that it was a big deal for them - elderly Mrs. Smith left my wedding very early, because she was insulted that Sandy wasn't invited. I didn't think much about it until about two days after the wedding when I spoke to my parents. They told me that the Smiths have broken friendship of over 40 years with them, because their Sandy wasn't invited. Also, that Mr. Smith has ended all business cooperation with my father. When I heard that, I began to boil with rage. "The insolence! They and their precious Sandy! They have the nerve to be mad over us not inviting her, and have a completely peaceful conscience about not inviting me earlier!"
So, in that frame of mind, I immediately called Elena and asked her about it. She told me she thought the whole thing was stupid, and that, as far as she was concerned, our mutual relationship could stay intact. Well, I succumbed to the temptation and I had to "vent". I told her that I won't even say "Good day" to her parents when I see them on the street. I told her that her sister, Sandy, was the most egoistical person that I, or my parents, have ever met, and that we had been commenting about it for the past 20 years. I told her that I would have never invited Sandy to my wedding, and that I would have rather invited - can't remember what I said here, whom I would rather invite, I think it was "a gypsy from the street", or "some random person from the street", and I hope I didn't say I'd rather invite some fool from the street. It was something like that. Yes, I sinned.
A few days later, when my anger disappeared, I realized that I was wrong to react like that, but I only sent a message to Elena saying that I was out of line, that I would, obviously, greet her parents and that I didn't really think so bad about Sandy. She accepted it, but our friendship was over.
A year went by. Only about a month ago I realized that I sinned, heavily, and that one SMS can't make it right. I realized that, even though the Smith family wronged us, it was a very sinful and completely unnecessary thing to do for me to say what I said. After speaking to my mother, I found out that not everything happened like I first thought. It wasn't simply that the elderly Smiths "ditched" my parents, but when Mrs. Smith told my mother she was hurt over us not inviting Sandy, my mum spoke her mind to Mrs. Smith for the first time (as she was fed up with them and their attitude). However, that was enough for me to realize that this story wasn't simply black and white, and I felt that I must ask forgiveness from both Sandy and her parents. Not for not inviting her, but for saying what I said later.
I had to start with Elena, as I didn't know for sure if she told her parents and sister what I told her about them. It's important to say that Mrs. Smith and Elena run a small pediatric clinic. It is entered straight from the street, and there is always only one nurse and one doctor there, so it's not difficult at all to reach them. I drove and found Elena there. That was the first time we saw each other in over a year. She confirmed that she told them what I said. I said that it was horrible what I said, that I want to ask their forgiveness and that I don't care if they'll laugh at me, or throw me out, that I have to try as my conscience won't give me peace. I told her: "You know me, you know that I am hot tempered and that I don't really mean what I say in a situation like that, don't you?" She confirmed. I asked for Sandy's phone number. She told me she was away for summer vacation, so she didn't give me the number. I understood that she also had to check with Sandy if she could give me her number. As for their mother (and I had to apologize for saying I wouldn't greet her on the street), she was back a week later. So I came again to their clinic, to see her. We spoke, I told her how sorry I was, etc. And that I wanted to apologize to Sandy as well. She claimed that Sandy didn't know about the whole thing (it's a lie, we can only guess why she said it). She told me: "Nemanja, you know that I am not a believer, I am more an agnostic, but I forgive you. But I don't forget. As far as I am concerned, your conscience can be at peace." Oh, and she also had an explanation for why I wasn't invited to Sandy's wedding 15 years ago. "Nemanja, it wasn't a classical wedding. Bride and groom weren't even with us in the same hotel, etc." So, that was it.
I called Elena to ask for Sandy's number again, but she avoided my calls. For days. She ignored my SMSs, all except one in which she told me she would ask Sandy when she comes home from vacation. Elena saw me and heard me being sorry for it. I couldn't pretend that I thought Sandy was, suddenly, the coolest person I knew, but I conveyed I was sorry. I waited for three weeks. Yesterday, I sent a message to Elena, again, asking what happened. She told me that she told Sandy about it, and that Sandy didn't even want to hear about a reconciliation.
So, Sandy hates me. Before I went in my "campaign" of asking forgiveness a month ago, I saw Sandy in the city. Not only she ignored me, but her face conveyed clear enmity. It's clear that she doesn't want to talk to me. There is nothing else in the realm of reasonable (at least, what I see), that I could do. My priest thinks I did all I could. My wife thinks the same. And what could I do? The least aggressive thing would be to try to reach Sandy by phone in her office, but it's almost certain I wouldn't accomplish anything except being humiliated, and both my priest and my wife think it would be too much to do something like that. Any other action would be a way of stalking. What do you think?