Fix This Now!
April 4, 2015
I read a post in a public forum recently from a man who had a disagreement with some colleagues. He repeated several times that he didn’t understand what he’d done to create this situation and shared his repeated attempts to fix the situation by “demanding they reconcile.”
Not surprisingly, these demands for reconciliation had failed. So he was writing to see if the community forum could offer a way for him to “fix this now.”
Fix this now.
We humans don’t care for the waiting part of life, the time hurts may take to heal, the time new life may take to be born. the time new truths may take to be breathed into life. We are not, seemingly, attune to our ability for our souls, in silence, to wait.
So we fiddle and demand and tinker in our attempts to fix this now, whatever the this is that needs fixed. Perhaps it’s a disagreement between people. Perhaps it a bigger problem, like our many institutional abilities to discount the dignity of every human being. We love the instant fix.
On Good Friday, we try the instant fix. We are so undone by the words of Jesus and his commandments to love, to serve, to forgive, that we want to fix the feeling we have when we realize we fail to live those commandments. We are so undone by the idea that God loves the outcasts, the sinners, the “those people” as much as God loves us, that we want to fix that equality and return to our world of treating underlings as such. We are so undone by the truth that power, status, and position have nothing to do with how much God loves, and in fact God seems to have a preferential love for those who are without any sizable resume, that we want to fix that truth back to our lie that we must earn validation instead of accept grace and love that falls freely on everyone.
Fix this now! we yell. Crucify him!
Clearly, our attempts to fix this now rarely work. The big problems, the big truths, the big moments in life are almost never fixed now; they are instead lived into, realized, discovered minuscule moment by moment. As the poet Rilke says, we learn the way by walking.
God, we see, asks us to wait. God asks us to sit with our discomfort, our grief, and even our annoyance. God asks us to wait, to pray, to be with all of creation in silence as we wait. And God waits with us today. In silence.
So we wait. We sit with the very uncomfortable truth that we cannot fix this now. We sit with our lack of power, the mess we’ve made with our attempts to fix this now, and the discomfort all of this realization brings.
Thank you for bring us back from all the madness. When we are entitled, it is hard to see the world through any other filter and we are, oh, so entitled.
Early in my recovery, I heard Richard Rohr refer to Thérèse of Lisieux, who herself spoke about “serenely bearing the trial of being displeasing to myself.”
Or, as St. Thomas the Heartbreaker teaches, “the waiting is the hardest part.”
Thank you Laurie. Fits into something I’m going through right now.
Thank you for this.
Recently, in a business context I witnessed a ‘fix it now’ instance by a manager. It had consequences. In the attempt to fix a problem a person was fired. They were not the cause of the dissatisfaction, but they were vulnerable. In the rush to fix it now this person was sacrificed to show it was fixed. It didn’t change the situation.
Thank you for this meditation for the Easter Vigil. We definitely live in a “fix this now” world, where even small steps toward possible solutions are condemned by those who want immediate complete solutions or nothing. (See reports on reactions to the agreement with Iran on a framework for more steps to be taken later.) If we think it’s so hard for us to wait, imagine how hard it is for others who have been living in fear for their lives for generations. But more waiting, and more of the strenuous, backbreaking, tedious labor of peacemaking, are what we face. While we wait, we are called, not to idleness, but to the depths of “prayer without ceasing”.
I enjoyed the read and there is much truth in it.
There is one thing I have found in my life that contradicts this. It is that if I don’t set the reconciliation process in motion early, it doesn’t happen. I slowly care less and less about reconciliation with the other person, and shame on me for that. Their ability to cause me hurt lessens over time, and after a few years if another incident occurs – such as an angry letter from an estranged family member, I shrug it off. I don’t like the way that happens.