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from Meditation 17, By John Donne
Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris

 
Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he know not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me and see my state may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.
The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.

(posted in memory of Sandra Cathryn Overby Ward-1942-2009)

 

 

 

Can any Good come out of conflicts?

Not all conflicts can be avoided. They seem to be a given of our human condition, and given the pressures in say matters financial, there is likely to be an increase rather than a decrease of wounded hearts.

I’ve been thinking of a little talk that I wanted to have with my own grown children on the subject and I think I’ll post the essence of it here and invite you to listen in. Attitude they say is the key to a lot of things in life and I really think that is the beginning of harvesting good out of the conflicts that we can’t avoid. So whether we’re thinking of conflicts in our professions, in our families and neighborhoods, or even in our faith communities, what I’m thinking of just now will probably apply.

Where do all these conflicts usually come from? Don’t they all come from something we do or say in the hearing of those we are in community with? And doesn’t it always involve hurting or being hurt by oneanother?  I am not thinking now of conflict resolution but in the attitude we should have about conflict in the first place if we are to be able to receive the “silver-lining” of even the worse situation.

If we really learned this, we could see a lot of conflict coming and be prepared to make the best of it. I have learned so much from my wife and children about this whole human activity. I learned not to get in a shouting conflict with the one I adore, complaining about something she has said or even some little thing she does that offends me for the simple reason that once I started I knew she could always pull out her list about me and then we would really be in for it.

And here’s the point: even with the ones we love the most we have to expect and be prepared to handle the C word-conflict. In fact it is very logical once we think it through: the ones we love the most are exactly the ones who know us best, and that includes our weaknesses or our vulnerabilities which is what allows them to hurt or offend us more deeply. In our relationships, the closer we have been, the more we have let the other know us, our hopes and dreams, the more we have exposed ourselves to real hurt and the more likely we are to hurt the other without even knowing it.

There is a simple solution if we are ready to agree that the conflicts are usually fueled by trying to defend ourselves, by avoiding a direct hit on our self image by defending and or retalliating. Chances are we would diffuse a lot of conflicts by not reacting in this way but rather deliberately choosing to take a hit, to suffer even a loss financially and get on with the positive things of living.

So what I want to say to those that love me, conflicts are inevitable simply because we are both involved in the human condition, and even more so because we know oneanother so well. So we will minimize the conflict by not wearing our feelings on our sleeves-out where they can be so sensitive and easily hurt. Then we will Know that because we love oneanother, and respect oneanother, we will spend our energies on seeking the good fruits that peacemaking brings to all.

Respect oneanother. Treat oneanother with dignity. Listen carefully to oneanother tell you what they really mean, how they really feel. Seek peace and unity even when it seems to fly away from you. Remove the hurt from the conflicts and the good will come flowing in to replace it. Shalom. Salaam.Paz.