Tension is uncomfortable. Our tolerance for it has a real effect on possibility. If we are unable to stomach tension, we will probably not be able to do anything more than protect the status quo.

Where is there tension in the work we’re doing? How is it distributed? God help us if we run around extinguishing it at first sight, but God help us too if we don’t see it. Tension deserves to be noticed and accounted for, so that we can exercise some measure of intention over where and how it is operating– applying it here, giving it space there, taking this bit on ourselves–and so that our leadership with the people who are experiencing its effects is empathetic and informed. And also self-informed: the worst place to ignore tension is in ourselves.

Maybe tension needs to live in our work as a controlled burn in a forest, preventing the excessive and dangerous buildup of debris that is no longer promoting growth. Not all fires need put out, at least not right away.

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