The conversation was collegial and conciliatory. It was a long overdue sit-down to address some lingering accusations that were made a long time ago. While the words captured the right themes, there was a dissonance that you could feel more than hear.
Even as my senses moved to high alert, I found myself listening in all the ways ones does with another is communicating. The unspoken words between the lines are part of this. Another piece is the way body language sets and holds the shape of the message. As the additional piece came together, a greater story emerged.
There was one part of the story that centered on the right things to do in the moment at hand. There was another part that spoke of being angry at the callout that others had made to pressure the right actions. A third part of the story was a clear statement that even though the present was superficially fixed, one should anticipate payback for the callout. The full story was ugly. It reflected fear. In it, self-centeredness trumped community, arrogance stood over awareness, and justification domination compassion.
Even as I moved to judgment, I found myself thinking of my conversations. What is the greater story that wraps my words? If I want the story to resonate, the values I think I hold will need to flow across all the ways I communicate. There are two pieces of self-awareness.
“There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” (1 John 4.18)
Whatever I think I see is always limited by the breath and depth of my vision. The greater stage is the community I am a part of. It reflects the people I interact with and their view and perspective. It is never all about me. It is always about you and me in the context of others.
Today I fly out to meet the Taiwan team. There will be stories. One is mine.