His face was red with rage. Flinging his arms around, stomping his feet, yelling right past me deep into what had happened to him. I stood firm, knowing his anger was not at me. What would bring order out of this CHAOS that clutched him in a vortex of defeat? How could I speak life into the midst of chaos?
There was no form to his reasoning. His reasoning skills had left him a long time ago. His words had no shape, spewing words of hate as though he was the victim. The louder his words, the more he convinced himself that he was right and she was wrong. For the better part of an hour, he ranted and raged. Not hard for me to keep silent since words were spewing out of his mouth crashing into one another at a furious clip. I stood still, but my mind was racing through ways to calm his blaze of hate towards his wife.
God waited, I waited.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said,… Genesis 1:1–3a.
When the earth was without ‘form and void’ the Spirit of God ‘hovered’ over the waters. No one knows how long He ‘hovered,’ suspended, waiting to make a move. I’m a fixer making corrections as I move forward. Not easy for me since I have the answer. Since I was in this tank of swirling anger and hate what was I to do?
Why not take a clue from God Almighty Himself and WAIT.
Soon the fire of venom of his adrenaline dropped to near zero, he slumped into a nearby chair, exhausted. The red rage showing on his face drained into puddles around his feet. His shouts became unintelligent mutterings. The once powerful man had relented.
“My father used to say to me, ‘Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency, become the calmest person in the room and you’ll be able to figure your way out of it.’” — Rudolph Giuliani
God waited till the seas and darkness and utter chaos gave up, then He SPOKE.
“Then God said…”
God speaks at the correct moment; we should do the same.
Years have passed since this incident. I remember the first words I spoke to this broken man.
It was a question.
“What are you prepared to do about it?” I asked.
“I don’t know, its not right”, he protested.
When you are in the protesting mode, nothing is positive. Only negativity reigns. Criticism and pessimism close the door to opportunity.
I thought it time to give some advice.
In the calmest voice I suggested, “You should call her and say, you are sorry for the hurt you caused her.”
“That’s ridiculous! She is the guilty one, not me.” he replied.
He remains stuck in his bubble of self-destruction to this day.
“People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.”
– Abigail Van Buren
I was not able to break through his cynical outlook on life. That day holds one of my biggest disappointments.
Though I was not able to help this man I did learn some valuable lessons.
What lessons did I learn?
- Wait before speaking.
- Listen to understand.
- When it is time to speak, begin with a question.
The question is important. It defines the tuft we are on. Am I on common ground with this person or are we worlds apart?
What is your suggestion for resolving conflict?
How do you bring structure out of chaos?
How do you move past the disappointment of not helping someone?