Impatience is the enemy of peacemaking, especially in families. When we’re scared or hurt or under stress, it’s hard to think clearly. It takes time to listen deeply. It takes time to rebuild trust. It takes time to unravel what got us into this mess and the role we may have played in it. It takes time to discover the possibilities hidden in each one’s heart.
I recently heard Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue reflect on”The Landscape of Time” with Krista Tippett on her NPR program, “On Being.” He said, “Stress is a perverted relationship with time.” Hearing this, I thought, yes. It’s easy to forget that pressure to reach a quick resolution is ordinarily unnecessary and often unhelpful.
We need to hold time lightly. In a difficult conversation, as O’Donohue says, “We have no idea what will land on the shoreline of tomorrow.”
If an immediate solution emerges in your family discussion, give thanks for beginner’s luck. More likely, you’ll need to move slowly, gently cleaning as you go, until a new vision begins to come into focus on the horizon toward which you’re moving together.
“Possibility,” says O’Donhue, “is the sacred heart of time.”