The temperature on the call was well beyond the boiling point. Even beyond the obvious, voices getting louder, words getting shorter, threads of repetition were becoming more and more frequent. The focus of our conversation had shifted from the present to the future. The initial content of business ideas and solutions had been push away, filled now with everyone’s fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Whatever roadmap we had started the conversation with seemed a distant memory.
I wish I could tell a story of balance recovery, emotional healing, and restoration. While I think we were able to traverse a deep pit to find ourselves in a place that was somewhat positive, even the strongest felt bruised and battered.
As I think of the experience and all that was said, certain details stand out.
Dialogue, listening with the intent of understanding, is often difficult. At one point or another, everyone on the call said, “you are not hearing”, “you are not listening”, or “you do not understand”. Whatever the facts might be, the question of mutual understanding remains.
When the response to a challenge is “I don’t care”, bad things always follow. Regardless of who utters the words (myself included!), when the words are said, it is as if one is “scattering their children hither and yon, strewing them all over the earth.” (Psalm 106.27) Thought, consideration, compassion, and understanding all appear to take a distant second place to the emotions behind the response.
When everyone has had their say, it is hard to know where anyone goes next. The challenge at the group level is huge! What do we do with all the emotions and viewpoints we can see on the table? What about the ones unexpressed by clearly there as well?
A recurring thought then and now is this. It doesn’t matter where in hell one finds one’s self as long as one can look, see, and reach for heaven. Every step towards a shared aspiration to something better and ideal is a way to embrace hope. When I take this action I find healing.