Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Language of Disagreement

The kinds of fights most of us like to avoid are often as quick and easy as a Southern summer storm, descending upon the land with vengeance in its thunder and lightning and downpour. As I get wiser (notice I did not say older) I find that I'm learning more than I thought I would from this: the inevitable tousle over something. Anything. Sometimes everything. Makes me think of times when the adults in my world fought in front of us kids, how I hated it, how it broke my heart then and sometimes still does, especially when disagreement involves witness by children. The sadness of bile and bitterness seems wrong for a child's eyes and little soul.

Yet, conflict and its resolve are what children must see to know, to understand, to build the spiritual tools necessary to overcome. What I have learned after so much witness is that experiencing conflict is like language immersion in another country; the language of forgiveness comes in letting go of old grudges and griping (I've been praying for the holy spirit to come and clear my head many times lately!). Part of this, too, is in the language of humility as much as in the language of righteousness (and no, not that puffed up kind you're thinking of)--in conflict we need to know ourselves, be willing to get to know others, and leave that little wiggle room for that unnameable something which somehow starts resolve, somehow brings us the tools to be able to put down our anger and frustration and just talk to each other, and see that sometimes there's more than meets the eye.

I don't know what it takes for someone to take the first step--it's often a little nudging from within, a barely perceptible feeling that something must give, that pride is a waste, or even that pride is the reason to reconnect with that one other whose soul you've locked horns with.

Conflicts come from disagreement on the simplest terms of the human condition--the desire to be accepted, loved, free. With time and patience we can make sense of this--if only we're willing to try. With our own good example we can help a child to see that good can come from bad, and disagreement can somehow lead to love and true living.

No comments: