In any situation, no matter how long it has been going, no matter how discouraging, there is always the possibility of taking a new kind of action, perhaps one that has never been taken before.
It can happen in the intimacy of a relationship between two human beings, in families, in organisations, in society, between peoples.
Some of the forms new action can take:
A new conversation.
A new request.
A new demand.
A new offer.
A new way of listening.
A new story.
Of course, there’s no sure-fire way of predicting what the effect of new action will be. A train of events will begin, yes. But where it leads nobody can know for certain.
Perhaps this is what has us hold back, so often, precisely when new action is called for.
But we could do well to remember that whatever has been started is subject to the same conditions as any situation. In the human world, the world of action and relationship, we can always take some other new action in order to respond to what we ourselves began.
Our endless capacity to invent cannot give us control.
But I think it can, when remembered, rightly give us hope.
Photography by Kate Atkinson