A young Japanese girl in a small fishing village became pregnant but was still living in her parent’s house. All the villagers pressed her to name the father, to point a finger at the renegade. After many angry words, she finally confessed.
“It’s the priest,” she said.
The villagers confronted the priest with this.
“Ah so,” was all he said.
For months afterward, the people were very down on this simple priest. Then a young man who had been away from the village for some time returned and asked to marry the girl. It turned out he was the father of the child, and the girl had made up an unlikely story to protect him.
Then the villagers went to the priest and apologized.
“Ah so,” he said.
This story shows the power of waiting while others do their shadow work. The priest did the villagers a great service by his silence; by not protesting or denying the situation, he left enough room for the people to work the problem out among themselves. They later had to ask, “Why were we so ready to believe the girl? Why did we side against the priest? How do we face the discomfort and anxiety we feel within ourselves?”