Yesterday Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met in Geneva. Nothing startling came out of the meeting, nothing startling was expected to come out of the meeting. But at least they met and talked. Our circle of contacts does not usually include the leaders of world Powers, but often (usually? always?) includes people with whom relations are difficult/ awkward/ frosty. Do we avoid them, because we find the encounters uncomfortable or unpleasant? Do we prefer to sit and ‘nurse our wrath’? Do we try to keep encounters to the bare minimum? Do we try to keep meeting in the hope that one day the ice will thaw a bit, and (even if we don’t become the best of friends) at least we don’t dread the prospect of encountering them by accident?
Lord, when relationships with other people work well, they are a great part of life. But they don’t always work: sometimes we just don’t have anything in common with someone, and struggle to have any kind of conversation; sometimes our outlook on life is poles apart from theirs; sometimes there is ‘history’ between us that can’t easily be ignored or swept away. Help us to cope with awkward or difficult relationships – ideally working towards a good one; but where that is not possible, at least reaching a point where we are not embarrassed, feeling uncomfortable or filled with dread when we meet, or think we might meet