The externals were all hard. You could see it is the walk. The ramrod back, crisp walk, and singular focus of the eyes reflected a man with a mission. There was no point of trying to get his attention, wherever it was it was going to stay that way. The meeting that followed reflected my observation. Hard. Direct. Blunt. Even though the mission was clear, his agenda trumped.
I have met this personality before. At times it has been an experience where I met myself. The description always comes back to the same; “their hearts are hard as nails, their mouths blast hot air.” (Psalm 17.10) For a long time, I thought that everything within them was made of stone. Life likes to remind me that these men and women are more like clay. They are hard and getting harder. There are two exceptions. Clay breaks. The harder it is the easier it breaks. Something will happen that breaks the man into little pieces. Second, clay melts. Water and clay are interesting partners. Initially, nothing happens. Over time, softness emerges and eventually clay becomes malleable. What seemed so hard gently changes towards gentleness that can be molded and shaped.
Knowing this, I held two choices within my hands. I could go for the big event. I could aim to hit him hard, shattering the clay exterior. The alternative was to approach it like rain. Resolute, firm, and steady. I could replace what had been lost, swapping fear with compassion, anger with mercy, and judgment with understanding.
The good news is that I know it will work. The bad news is that I have no idea how long the process will take. In many ways, it is not up to me. I cannot see through the exterior to understand how deep the scars and hardness extend. I know that I have a clear choice. Perhaps for my sake as much as his, I am drawn to the water. Being part of the answer is always a good idea. It will take time. It is a Divine challenge.