Through Conflict on the Pages of Your Journal
are diverse in thought, opinions, background, and environment,
and this diversity often leads us to disagreement with others – sometimes
those we are not only closest to but whom we respect the most.
We may suddenly find that someone we care about speaks out an
idea we had never known they held. We may be surprised to find
that when we least expect it, someone challenges us, and we rush
to defend our point of view. We may find ourselves in a broken
relationship with someone simply because we cannot embrace the
diversity that feels like it pummels the truth, leaving only
distorted emotions and frayed sensitivities behind. When conflict
swirls around us like a windstorm, and we feel incapable not
only of answering the questions, but even of beginning the process
of face-to-face conversation, we can find our center again on
our journal page. Digging into our own souls, we can write ourselves
into a better understanding of our reactions and responses. It
can be the very practice of writing that moves us to reconciliation
and the ability to embrace those who have seemed so separate
from us. The following passages may be helpful in getting you
as, when we approach God, strife and bitterness cease and
we come closer to our brethren, so too when we seek to
understand the heart of our brethren, narrowness and selfishness
vanish, and we may come nearer to God.
Central Conference of American Rabbis,
eds. Gates of the House (Shaarei Habayit): The
New Union Home Prayerbook (Central Conference
of American Rabbis/ CCAR Press, 1951) 194.
are my ten most deeply held beliefs?
did I come to embrace these beliefs, and how have they
have my beliefs caused a rift between another and me?
have my beliefs been re-imagined and clarified over the
do I respond when my beliefs are challenged?
has listening to others’ beliefs helped sharpen
one or more of my beliefs were proven untrue, how would
I feel? What would I do?
screaming shattered the voices
that had just come together to speak you,
to make of you a bridge
over the chasm of everything.
of Hours: Love Poems to God, trans. Anita Barrows
and Joanna Macy-Riverhead Books(New York: Penguin Group,
there is a chasm between others and myself
how can God become a bridge between us?
do I think was on God’s mind
when God created us with such diversity?
I were to encounter a person from another planet whose
experience was completely different from my own, how
might I need
to alter my ideas?
has love made it possible to accept something that previously
seemed impossible to acknowledge?
I were to bring my
ideas before heaven’s
gate, what might God say to me
some private entity traveling unaffected through time
and space as if sealed off from the rest of the world
by a thick shell.
Nhat Hanh, The
Miracle of Mindfulness (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975) 76.
I were on a desert island, how would my understandings about
others and myself change?
do I try to put a shell around myself so that others
attempt to change my ideas and beliefs?
- When I am in a discussion with another, when do I feel I want to hold
on to my private identity?
- If I were in a room with 6 people who were different from me, who would
- If those six people and I were together talking for four hours, what
might I learn about myself? About them?
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3,
King James Version
are the people in my life that I feel unable to walk
together with right now?
has made me feel ‘out of agreement’ with them?
we were together in a room with Jesus, how might we both
respond to each other?
do I need to relinquish in order to be able to walk together
with them again?
we are in heaven together, how will we remember our earthly
steps can I take now to begin to move toward reconciliation?