According to Sigmund Freud “we are so made that we can derive intense enjoyment only from a contrast” and so I write this blog as the Christian Church journeys through Holy Week.
Surely a celebration of the greatest of contrasts. The journey of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as a hero, captured and tried like a bandit or thief, the ultimate despair of being crucified only to rise again in glory on Easter Day.
Whatever your beliefs, spend a moment considering what it might be like if someone you knew had experienced even a small part of that journey. The emotional highs and lows at a time when everything seemed lost beyond repair. Far beyond that point.
Imagine the joy and disbelief of Easter. All of a sudden, the pain and anguish replaced by excitement and the complete victory of resurrection over death. A whole new chapter and a really “life-changing” experience.
I suspect that if any of us had witnessed this we would never be quite the same people again. This is undoubtedly true of those close to Jesus who went on to establish the Christian Church and to spread this “Good News” throughout the world.
In our much more mundane lives the contrasts that we experience may not be as dramatic or have such a long-term effect. However, most of us can recall situations which, at the time, appeared dark and hopeless but which eventually settled down in some way and perhaps were transformative and ultimately beneficial. I know I can do this and the fact that I am writing this today is as a direct result of an event in my past which was devastating but made me explore different paths.
One of those paths was to train as a mediator. Settling disputes and disagreements seems to me the key to moving life onwards.
I have seen and personally experienced the darkness of disputes which take over lives, blight them and make the participants unable to move on. I have also seen the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” and felt the weight leave my shoulders once an ending to all the upset is in sight.
That contrast is intense and I truly believe that, with the aid of mediation, those in disputes can be given a preview of what life might be like if the dispute they are engaged in is at an end. The process can then often provide the solution to achieve this. Of course, there are no promises or certainty and mediation is not a magic bullet to cure all ills. But it is a powerful tool to employ and with little in the way of downside. If the parties cannot find a solution with the trained help of a mediator then the position is no worse than it was before. But think of what a solution means!
The contrasts of Easter are stark but the outcome supreme. If someone is in a low place because of a dispute then it is perfectly allowable for them to dream of what their life might be like “the other side” of the problem. They should then pursue whatever route might get them there.
Mediation might bring about the contrast that may lead to intense enjoyment – it has got to be worth a try!
In this Eastertide I hope we all can experience peace and joy.
ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator, Certified Accountant and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (former Chair of the East Anglia Branch), university lecturer and trainer and a member of the CIOT Dispute Resolution and Litigation working group.