Picture a man who has just been forced to venerate his enemy in the presence of an entire city. Subsequently, this man sulks home (scorning the shame of honoring the man he hates), only to be told by his wife and his friends that he is inescapably cursed, and will soon fall at the hands of the foe whom he has just cavalcaded through the capitol! And even as this man’s wife and friends are matter-of-factly informing him of his wretched fate, servants arrive to whisk him away to an exclusive royal dinner party where he will unsuspectingly meet his demise.
What kind of mood must this man be in during this time? What mask must this man wear when he arrives at the palace? What brooding must be brewing and churning inside him at this moment?
These are all good questions. However, we are not given details regarding these inquiries. The primary path we are invited to trod has to do with the timing, tact, and passion of the queen hosting the dinner party.
Here’s what you need to know: the queen has beef with the cursed man described above. Why does the queen take issue with this man you ask? Because he has legislated genocide against her people. Now, here’s the thing about being targeted for genocide …it’s deeply upsetting. I don’t think any of us would blame the queen had she become hysterical or overcome with fear in the face of impending annihilation; but the queen never allowed fear to dominate and define her. The patience of the queen is nothing short of miraculous! The imperturbable timing of the queen’s protest is predicated on emotional honesty, which consists of 2 supernatural qualities:  not bottling up, or denying, your feelings, and  not being mastered by your emotions. So the queen rigorously wrestles with the overwhelming weightiness of legislated annihilation (e.g. she fasts/feels her weakness, and she invites her entire community to share her vulnerability; and at the same time, she honestly recognizes that her feelings are not the final word on the issue. So while she must sincerely engage her emotions, she will not allow them to become the all-eclipsing and controlling force of her life. The queen harbors deep dismay regarding the decree of genocide, and she WILL PROTEST; but she will not be hasty.
Now, the queen doesn’t just exercise patience and contemplate timing; she also operates with tact and thoughtfulness. She’s sensitive to what interests the decision makers of her day, and she has discerned that the main decision maker (the king) enjoys feasts and drinking parties. So she shrewdly plans a couple of parties for the king; and she makes sure to include the king’s right-hand-man (who happens to be the cursed man mentioned at the beginning of this blog). It’s important for the king to have a familiar and trusted advisor present at the party, because this (along with the alcohol) will ensure the relaxation and receptivity of the king. Moreover, it’s important for the cursed man to be present, because the queen needs to bring charges against him (and this is best done in person). Tact is always helpful, but it is especially important when emotions run high; and considering the threat of looming annihilation it’s safe to assume the queen’s fervor is elevated! The queen must embrace the tension of unleashing a forceful protest of injustice, and at the same time not allow her feelings to dominate and define the situation. The queen’s approach must be a mixture of FORCE and FINESSE.
When you consider this dynamic between FORCE and FINESSE, think international politics. For the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 I watched a documentary about the day of the attacks. And at one point Condoleezza Rice was being interviewed about the delicacies of navigating the relationship with Russia on that day. Condoleezza said, “What you have to remember is that the week before the 9/11 attacks, the Russian government had informed the USA that they would be conducting some major military exercises on September 11th; and then when those planes hit the towers, the USA needed to start immediate mobilization of our military …which could easily be interpreted by the Russians as an aggressive reaction to their military exercises; and that could lead to nuclear war!” So, Condoleezza said, “I put some extra thought into how I wanted to speak with Vladimir that day. I knew I had to be direct, but I also knew I had to be diplomatic. Finding the balance would be the trick.”
And finally, we need to ask the question, “What is the root system of the queen’s patience and tact?” The foundation, framework, and flavor-profile of the queen’s timely and thoughtful approach is LOVE. The most active and authoritative resource in the universe says, “If you operate with eloquence, but you have not love, you are a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. If you are wicked smart and competent beyond comprehension, but you have not love, then you are nothing. If you serve, and sacrifice your life for, others, but you have not love, you gain nothing!” The queen’s motive for all she does is LOVE. The passion permeating all her patience and diplomatic protocol is LOVE.