Wednesday, January 28, 2015

From conflict to grace

There is nothing more prejudicial to community life than to mask tensions and pretend they do not exist or to hide them behind a polite facade and flee from reality and dialogue. A tension or difficulty can signal a new grace. But it has to be looked at wisely and humanly...
Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p. 121. 

It's been a very interesting week for moodling. Not that I've done much here, online, but I've been doing a lot while dog-walking, crocheting, and working. I'm spending a fair bit of time these days writing up an interview I conducted for the history of L'Arche Edmonton, one that was particularly painful because it encompassed a time of conflict and gossip in the community.

The thing is, the people involved at that time were all really good people, doing what they felt was best for the community at that moment. But human egos got in the way, and in protecting those egos, it became easy to act less than charitably. We humans are a funny breed -- we so easily convince ourselves that what we do, we do for others, not ourselves, and sometimes don't see that for the power trip it can become.

That's where it can be helpful to have a wise and impartial third party come in and offer an outside perspective, but only if that party's suggestions are carried out. In the portion of the L'Arche history that I am working on, the mediators weren't heard, and for many people, the hurt continues, its tentacles sometimes touching into what happens here and now. Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds.

I wish I could heal it all, but I'm not God. All I can do is moodle and pray about it, and try to learn from it in my own, human, limited way. The biggest thing, perhaps, is seeing and admitting my own mistakes and foibles, asking forgiveness when I am wrong, and working to make things right again. Then the new grace that Jean Vanier mentions in the passage above has a chance to take hold.

Of course, every bit of grace costs some ego! I guess that's why international conflicts are so difficult to solve -- so many egos are involved. I'm thinking in particular of my fellow blogger, Debbie, and her husband Dean, ecumenical accompaniers in East Jerusalem. You can find Debbie's writing by clicking here. And if you have time, maybe you can send a note to your politicians regarding a just end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That's on my list of to-do's for today.

There was a small conflict in my house last night that needed to be brought to grace, and I was one of the instigators, so I had to ask forgiveness of everyone involved, and work things out. Maybe, just maybe, I'm getting better at seeing my own sins and mistakes more clearly as I get older, but I still have a long way to go to get to grace, full-time.

How about you?

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