Standing in the Tragic Gap

By the tragic gap I mean the gap between the hard realities around us and what we know is possible — not because we wish it were so, but because we’ve seen it with our own eyes.”

Parker J. Palmer

Parker Palmer, has a concept he calls ‘The Tragic Gap‘. The gap sits between the world we know is possible and the world as we know it currently is. If we want to get closer to the world we believe is possible, we must stand within the tragic gap.

We all experience barriers and hurdles in our lives that make it more difficult for us to achieve what we want. Many of my friends experience obstacles that I do not as a white man in a position of privilege. Yet, these same friends also come from a place of privilege with some groups far more minimised than they are.

The world we live in isn’t fair, and for reasons, I don’t fully understand there are large groups in society that are minimised and repressed. As individuals, we will struggle to change this, but we can all choose to be part of the change.

This is when we must stand in the tragic gap. Standing in the gap is hard, it’s in the gap that the world will try to change you, but if you can hold firm, you can create the space for you and others to change the world.

It takes real courage to stand in solidarity within the gap, but we all have the energy and power to do so. We probably can’t change the world as individuals, but we can choose to stand in the gap.