Resolving to Resolve Part II: From Resolute to Resolution

You lose your grip and then you slip into the Masterpiece.”

                                                                       –Leonard Cohen


The trouble with quickly written, unedited blog posts (aside from the embarrassingly horrific typos and grammatical travesties) is that there is always more to say. Five days into the New Year and I am still processing what “resolution” means in its fullness and what it will mean for me as I attempt to live this year with purpose and intention, with responsiveness instead of reactiveness, all while honoring the etymological root of this word which means to “loosen” and “release.”

This blog post has a part II because there are other ways we use this word “resolution” that we can reclaim as part of the often shame-inducing, but well-intentioned “New Year’s Resolution” tradition.

While the root is about “loosening and releasing,” the use of the word and its derivatives in the New Year’s context is about purpose, aim, focus, and single-minded determination to get something done.

However, one of the major uses of the word “resolution” is “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.” And how are those things solved? By getting a tighter grip, throwing a punch and “winning?” By out-arguing? By beating that “other” into submission? I don’t know where you are, but that hasn’t worked so well on my planet. This “resolution” is sometimes a formal declaration (as with law-makers and diplomats) , but often times it is just a simple coming together, a compromise, a…and here it is, friends…a “loosening” of the tight voice that says “I’m right and you’re wrong.” This is what it is to “slip into the masterpiece” of collective human flourishing.

In order to achieve peace, in order for things to be resolved, there must be a loosening on both sides. I think that is what it means to be a peace-MAKER: helping both sides loosen and release—come to a resolution. Now, ironically, sometimes that loosening, that resolution, ultimately can make one MORE resolute about something. It is part of the multivalent nature of this word.

I have become more resolute than ever that we have to fight hard to listen to each other without demonizing each other, talk to each other without using words to cut and harm. I am more resolute than ever about the need to be people who lovingly and empathetically find the questions behind the questions, see the hurt behind the anger, see the loneliness and fear behind the comment on the Facebook wall. To truly loosen and release others, we have to loosen and release our grip on own senses and admit that maybe we don’t see and hear as clearly as we might think…about others, about ourselves, and most importantly, about the GOD of the universe. And that, friends, is yet another use of the word resolution: seeing. Specifically, the “degree of detail visible in a photographic or television image.” And that is the subject of my next post… we SEE.



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