I had to do something today I had been very worried about. It turned out as well – indeed, better – than I could have predicted or asked. Largely because the others involved are gracious people.
And earlier on the day, I was out walking and the streets were gridlocked. The traffic round here can be pretty bad a lot of the time, but today, for some reason, was worse than many. I saw various people flashing headlights and trying to push in, and heard a couple of horns being sounded, “encouraging” other cars to move more quickly.
But what links these two is that there was more grace then irritation, more gentleness than violence. Those I was with spoke well, and listened carefully – laughed and explored. The drivers also made space, waited, did not ram each other, obeyed the rules of the road.
Which is a really encouraging thing.
We manage to live together, on the whole, without killing each other, or even resorting to too much violence. We learn to negotiate around one another and even to find ways of talking together about hard stuff, and exploring trust and openess. There are times we get it horribly wrong – there is killing, hatred, anger and low-level anger. But there are also moments – quite a lot of them – when almost without noticing, we get it right.
This makes me very glad!