Group Dynamics and Patience

I was involved in a particularly difficult (and long) meeting yesterday. It left me feeling weary and discouraged. It also left me somewhat frustrated because I felt the meeting ended without any resolution and with many things left unsaid.

One of my difficulties in a situation like this is patience. I want things resolved (or do I mean solved?) immediately (if not sooner) and don’t like leaving things hanging. But one of the things I know…even if I have difficulty fully embracing it…is that things need time to sort themselves out. People need to go off on their own and reflect, maybe subgroups of people have to have some conversations…maybe some time just needs to pass. And my desire for resolution does not change that reality. Indeed, my failure to let go of that desire can more likely impede as speed resolution.

What came to my mind as I was thinking about my frustration, was a passage from Pierre Teilhard De Chardin’s Patient Trust. Although he is speaking about spiritual progress rather than group dynamics, I think the passage is equally helpful to this situation:

We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end withour delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of progress
that it is made by passing through
some states of instability —
and that it may take a very long time.

The process can’t be forced. There is an inevitable flow through intermediate stages and instability. And therefore a need to pray for patience…and for grace and wisdom as the process works itself out.

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