In the last while I have had a series of conversations with a good friend. We have been discussing a situation in his life which has resonances in my own. By this I mean I bring baggage to the conversation.
I have been aware of the need to take time over my responses. Learning to sift the wheat of genuine concern from the chaff of fear.
It has been a fascinating process for me, as I have begun to really respect the other as other. It has forced me to recognise that his story is not the same as my story. His motivations are not my motivations. And crucially, neither of us is right or wrong, it is genuinely just different.
For me, this is a process of discernment. My knee-jerk response of what is right may not be accurate. The challenge is that the knee-jerk response is so often so clear and so easily justified. But I am really learning that my own point of view may not be the whole picture.
In fact, my own view cannot possibly be the big picture!
I am learning the importance of having a measured conversation. Taking time to pause and consider my own responses. Beginning to recognise when I need to not speak because I cannot speak out of freedom. And having the courage to speak again once I have found that freedom once more.
It is an extraordinary privilege to be allowed to participate in another person’s discernment.