The conversation was quietly etching itself into my mind. There were too many reasons for us not being able to bridge the divide. Cultures were radically different, business priorities were being driven towards opposite goals, and our personal approach to new challenges and opportunities appeared on the surface to be anything but congruent. Yet, almost in spite of or because of the differences I could feel the bridge that was rapidly under construction.
Something unusual was happening. Every preconception that might lead to conflict was easily tossed aside. A new experience was being formed and we knew it! It was as if I could watch the mystery of experiential trust form, evolve, and mature right before my eyes. As exciting as this was and is my mind was already struggling with the obvious question. How can I replicate this experience? Is it possible to achieve this level of communication with others? Can we have this many win/win situations?
I also circled back to the fundamental uncertainty that lingered. Why did this conversation and relationship work while others have and are not? The answer was right there when I looked.
“Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.” (Proverbs 25.15)
You and I have the opportunity to bridge gaps in the relationships around us. Obvious walls crumble when gentleness and patience are folded into listening. Trust emerges when two people listen with the intent of learning from the other. Uttering words takes on new meaning when the intent is to walk together and raise each other us instead of destroying and overcoming the enemy that is next to us.
Clearly we live with the pain and anguish from acts of hatred and selfishness. Dialogue focuses on the present and the future with hope, understanding that all of us live with our histories. Accountability is a great thing, but only when combined with mercy, learning, and hope. Yesterday has much to teach us but it should never control our choices today.
God offers us dialogue. I want to learn and experience love, mercy, and hope.