I’m sitting next to him on the sofa, but he might as well be miles away. We’re discussing an issue, and the conversation has reached an impasse. Where do we go from here? It’s not really a good time to talk. Life is pressing. He has an appointment. I have things to do.
We can just shrug, get up, and walk away. We can put our emotions on hold until a better time. After all, we’re adults. We know how to compartmentalize and move on with life. We know how to put on the right expression and act as if everything is fine.
But our relationship is a living thing and you can’t really put life on hold. It’s either growing or it’s dying. Stuff happens in the space between now and later, in the space we’ve left between us. Left alone, an injured relationship just keeps bleeding. The longer you wait, the more likely it is to get infected.
The clock is ticking.
“Okay, let’s pray then,” he says, because he knows it’s what we have to do. We both know.
“All right,” I say, though it’s the last thing I feel like doing just then. Especially because we have this habit of holding hands when we pray, and at that moment I don’t really want to hold his hand. But I reach my hand across that two inch gap between us. I could swear there is an invisible force field keeping us apart. Somehow I push through and let my hand rest on his. He takes my fingers, and I wonder if it was a struggle for him.
I listen to him pray. I know we’re supposed to be “agreeing” in prayer, but I’m disagreeable, even though I don’t want to be. My heart is fenced in, boxed up.
“Amen,” he says.
My “turn” now, but I know it’s totally optional. Technically I’ve already done my part. But I know in my heart nothing’s changed for me. As much as I don’t feel like praying, I don’t want to be left here in my cage, either.
I draw a deep breath. I choke out the words. Anything, because I know I have to start somewhere. “God … help me … to have … the right … attitude.” I’m lugging out each word, a heavy weight out of the muck. “I don’t want to be … angry … or bitter.”
“I just surrender … all of this to you,” I blurt out, because I don’t know what else to say. I feel so utterly helpless, so at a loss to know what it is I need.
I’d like to say our issue was resolved in that instant, but it wasn’t. Time didn’t permit any more discussion. Our disagreement was exactly the same as before. But now our spirits were united. Our relationship had slipped back into it’s rightful place. It had priority. In contrast, the issue seemed small.
I don’t advocate sweeping issues under the rug. We’ll definitely have to get back to our discussion. But relationships can continue to thrive, in spite of unresolved issues. We can still walk forward hand in hand, even when we don’t see eye to eye.