It’s hard to know how to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the climate crisis and all the other suffering that human beings inflict on each other.
“Yes…and” is one of the golden rules of improvised drama. You accept what the other person says and does – that’s the “yes” part of the equation – before you make your response. Which may go along with, or counter, what has gone before.
There is a danger that, in our anxiety about the state of the world, we fret about the situation and, perhaps, bury our heads because we feel powerless. This is where “Yes…and” comes in. First we can say “yes” to the reality in front of us – in all its brokenness and suffering.
Next comes the “and”. It is not within our power to change all of this suffering, but we can – in a beautiful phrase I read recently – “shape our presence before it”. We can decide how we’ll face it. And the way in which we face it will ripple out beyond us.
My “and” has been to look for those who seek justice, reconciliation and peace in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I recently came across these two groups: Jews for Justice for Palestinians (jfjfp.com) and the Parents Circle – Families Forum (theparentscircle.org) – Jewish and Palestinian families working together, all of whom have lost a family member to the ongoing conflict. Both groups are impressive.