Monthly Archives: August 2013
I wrote recently about our women’s group starting a new class on conflict resolution. I’m very excited about this opportunity, but I do realize what a challenge this will be. So, I’m praying for our group and our facilitators, and ask my fellow B4Peace bloggers to pray also.
The book we are using to begin is Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson.
I have only read the introduction so far, but it has captured my imagination and revived some of my long lost hope about peacemaking.
Ken Sande says that since he became a full-time Christian conciliator in 1982 he has seen these peacemaking principles used to stop divorces, restore friendships, reunite churches, settle lawsuits, and even bring peace between warring tribes in Africa and Asia.
I’m looking forward to seeing what can bring about those kinds of reconciliations and peace.
He also says to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries’ resources, training, or services visit http://www.Peacemaker.net.
I feel like I am standing at a door to a whole new way of life, perhaps even a deeper sense of purpose.
Don’t you love those moments in life?
My discovering the wonders of blogging last year at seventy-five is continuing to open new worlds to explore at seventy-six.
Thank yous to: our nephew David who gave me my first computer seventeen years ago, our son Thomas who is our computer tech, Tracy who introduced me to blogging last year, and the bloggers around the world that keep me inspired, particularly Kozo and the group, B4Peace.
They have all taught me that it’s never too late to learn new, exciting, and life changing things.
A women’s group at my church, known as The Doves, is having a Scripture based class on Conflict Resolution. Several people have stopped coming to our church because someone hurt their feelings, sometimes even just because someone seemed to ignore them. But when I invited them to the class, they said they didn’t have any conflicts to resolve.
In the past avoidance was one of my favorite ways of escaping conflict. I have shared before about getting my feelings hurt, then just cutting people out of my life, and even letting them die before ever resolving or reconciling. These people didn’t even know they had hurt me, because it was unintentional. With age I have gained a new perspective on many things, and I deeply regret abandoning these friends.
During the first gathering of the new class, a lot of unresolved hurt came out, even with each other in the class. But almost no one spoke in anger or in judgment. We simply admitted our feelings of hurt and listened when people explained a situation from another viewpoint or when someone pointed out the good in the offending person.
No one is perfect and we all bump into each other. Most times when we get seriously offended, it is because the other person has unwittingly blundered into an area where we feel particularly vulnerable.
Some people deal with the world mostly through logic and fact. And often are unaware of their own or others’ feelings. Since truth is their highest value, they do not automatically understand the effect it might have on another person’s feelings.
On the other hand, many of us simply see the world through our feeling values and respond to it straight from our feelings. Often, we have great difficulty working through them to logic.
For those whose values are truth, fact, and logic, even ordinary everyday conversations with feeling types are like exploring a minefield without a map.
Learning either how to say the truth tactfully, or when it might be more diplomatic to not say anything, is a serious challenge for them.
For those of us who live in our feelings, it helps to become aware of areas of insecurity and try to become free of them, and failing that, to learn to risk telling others how what they said made us feel. At least in a long term relationship, this will give the truth and logic partners a map of the minefield!
I have a friend who told me that when she was about six or seven, there was a rich little girl who came to their Sunday School in fancy clothes and white Mary Jane shoes. My friend was jealous of the little girl and took advantage of every chance she got, to scuff the bottom of her shoe across the pure white top of her Mary Jane shoes.
Sometimes, we really consciously mean to hurt others, but most of the time it is either inadvertent or an unconscious response.
I discovered late in life that I quite often scuff people’s Mary Janes in more subtle and less conscious ways, but it still leaves people feeling diminished. Most times before the last decade or so, I was not conscious of it, and sometimes the victims didn’t even know exactly what made them feel scuffed.
For conflict resolution to become an effective tool, it first takes commitment on everyone’s part and a willingness to become self-aware, even uncomfortably so.
Our group cares about each other and most of us have learned to love even the people we don’t always like. But still it’s a scary venture into our dark sides.
Prayer and knowing we are loved unconditionally, at least by God, will hopefully give us the grace to learn to use this tool for peace. All prayer for grace for us is greatly appreciated.
My list of ten songs plus, that bring me peace or inspire me to seek peace, is pretty eclectic. They vary from a children’s song about diversity:
1.All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir by the Twitters,
2. Nabucco, the chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi, which evokes compassion in me,
and then ironically my list includes:
3. It’s a Long Way to Tipperary by the Soviet Army Chorus and Band, part in Russian and part in English, from a record we had in the sixties. This is a song about how far war takes us from home, in every sense of the word, and now it also reminds me of the possibilities for drastic change in the world.
Others are religious:
4. Make Me A Channel of Your Peace sung by Susan Boyle;
5. Peace Like a River by the Morman Tabernacle Choir;
6. Peace is Flowing Like a River by Father Carey Landry and Carol Jean Kinghorn;
7. Let There Be Peace on Earth by Voices Without Borders.
8.Panis Angelicus by Celtic Woman
Then there are the classics from the 60’s:
9. Let It Be sung by Joan Baez,
10. Imagine by Lennon -my favorite is by Judy Collins.
And two more recent songs:
11. Some Day by the Celtic Woman.
12.Bring on the Rain by Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw, which speaks of having the courage to accept all of life, which is key to personal peace.
Another one I plan to use for prayer/chant on Sunday’s Praying for Peace time:
13.My Peace I Leave You by the international Taize Community Choir in France.
I gathered several others from my face book family:
Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon;
Put a Little Love in Your Life by Jackie De Shannon;
My Little Life by Korby Lenker.
Note:My Little Life at first glance may not seem like a peace song, but since greed,the unrelenting need for more, seems one of the main causes of war and violence, then
celebrating what we have, even in a very small life, should beget peace.
Another song that touches me and challenges me is:
14.I Will Always Love You,by Dolly Parton.
This expresses a truth I believe: that once we’ve learned to truly love, it may bring sorrow, but not hate. I think there’s a strong connection between allowing ourselves to feel the pain of deep sorrow, not avoiding that pain by replacing it with hate or anger or revenge, and the capacity for love.
It would seem that peace, like love, is not only a many splendored thing, but the capacity for peace and love may be inseparable.
I drive a hundred mile plus round trip on an Interstate several times a week, so I am making a CD of these songs to play and reflect on while driving. A small beginning in a small life, but perhaps it’s a pebble dropped into the water.