How often does an argument drag on – the original purpose of that communication being swept aside in recrimination. And if you know the other person/people well, then the potential for previous conflict to be added to the mix is endless. It all becomes more painful than you want, it leaves a confusion as to why it happened at all, and it leaves a trepidation for the future.
I have that in my life more often than I should. And the latest disagreement resulted in a frosty silence. We are good at that.
So I reverted to the keyboard and an email to communicate. And spent three hours attempting gentle but honest words. Time I did not have available that morning. But this person is worth it.
And having crafted and polished, edited and pruned, reviewed and adjusted – I thought I was there. So I walked away to get a coffee, and said to the lord – is that okay? Something I do a lot when written words and important people are involved. And I am familiar with a gentle “yes” or “it’s ok” or “mmmm….”
So as I headed downstairs and asked “is that okay” – I nearly tripped and went head first when I got a resounding “NOOOOO!!”
My heavenly father doesn’t speak like that!! Was that him? Lord was that you? It certainly wasn’t me and there was no one else in the house. I was shocked. Lord it isn’t that bad – is it? Did you mean that – really lord? And a quieter gentler insistent repetition came back. “no”. Wow.
This was a new one. What do I do now?
So one cup of coffee and back to the keyboard. I looked at my email draft – and reluctantly deleted all but the last sentence. Because it was a really gentle sentence. Lord … ? “no”. Lord are you sure … ? “no”. So that last sentence got deleted. Three hours of gentle loving work – and a blank page stared back at me. What now?
And then the words came to me and through the keyboard: “It went pear-shaped. The end.”
And I heard that gentle loving voice, “yes”. Lord are you sure? It’s a bit short. “yes”. Well okay lord, if you say so. And I reluctantly pressed send.
The whole experience stayed on mind the rest of the day and since. I did not hear back from the other person.
But the whole thing did something weird for me. “It” became “closure” – no recriminations. No having to weigh up whether my (intended) carefully crafted words were unfair. No having to assess had I achieved the right level of justification, of agreement, of disagreement, the right length of email, the opportunity for a reply, did it accuse or did it invite … Had I done it right or wrong … helped or hindered … ?
Just simple closure without blame or emotion. “It went pear shaped.”
Not me, not the other person. We had not failed or been bad or done something wrong. “It” had not gone as well as hoped or expected. So there was neither blame nor recrimination. No need to analyse it to death. And no link with “how it always is” nor trepidation for the next disagreement. It was done. Closure in a really good way.
How empowering. How energising.
And the other person? Not one word has been mentioned. But when we met later that day there was a sparkle. And we cuddled.
Lord – you are one cool (if a little confusing) dude! Thank you.
(Originally posted on September 13, 2013)