I am struggling to come to terms with a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet I am looking at is one that a business partners sent as the outcome of a conference call a week ago. Because I took notes and started a personal spreadsheet that reflected our conversation, I know what I perceived. While there is a directional similarity between to the two documents to our conversation, the details are very different! Our reference points are not the same. I am not sure what this means.
I think it is important to resolve one’s reference point before disagreeing with the conclusion. Is it perspective or a real difference? Is the outcome different because of the starting point? What is the same and what is new?
Two citizens of Rome were discussing their citizenship. “The captain was impressed. ‘I paid a huge sum for my citizenship. How much did it cost you?’
‘Nothing,’ said Paul. ‘It cost me nothing. I was free from the day of my birth.’” (Acts 22.28)
For one, citizenship was a birthright. For another, it was purchased. What difference did that make?
As I reflect and struggle, I find myself coming back to a common point. Recognizing that my reference point is different from another gives me an opportunity for a dialogue. I can listen to understand and potentially learn. Recognizing that we are starting from different points, gives me the opportunity to explore what we share in common. In our differences, we can discover what binds us and where we differ.
It would be easy to progress if our spreadsheets were fundamentally the same. Yet, in the differences, I can see an opportunity to build a bridge to a greater perspective of the Other. I am not sure where this is going to lead. I do know that asking questions, exploring the meaning, and learning together is a path to potentially working together. Even the negative is attractive; if we choose to go in different directions, we will be stronger for the process. Today is a time of asking questions, listening, and exploring.