Friday, November 8, 2013

You Cannot Do Both

I think that those of you who know me personally, would describe me as thoughtful, rational, and open minded. I also intensely dislike conflict, having been marinated in it constantly throughout my childhood. So while I do feel it's important to express your thoughts, I also think it's important to do so in an informed, diplomatic way, understanding that everyone has a reason for believing what they believe.

Yesterday, while I was catching up with my social media, I came upon a Facebook article for Minnesota Public Radio about the Supreme Court and public prayer (at government-sponsored events) I was engaged by the topic and wrote a comment.

I'd copy the comment for you, but I've made the decision I've clarified my position as best I can there - though I shouldn't have bothered - and have no further need to read any more of the toxic replies. I will say that, for myriad and complex reasons, I don't like the idea of led-prayer at a government event, but I do think that silent meditation - or whatever one chooses to do in a moment of silence - is calming, centering, and helps people be more mindful about their presence and purpose anywhere, including at a government event; I don't think anyone, athiest or not, loses anything by being sensitive to people wanting to use the time for silent prayer when silence, however it is used, is beneficial (Google it).

It was with this idea of silence that people took issue. In particular that it, apparently, can only ever represent Religious (not spiritual, nor philosophical, nor psychological) interests and is only a waste of time and that definitely not prayer, nor even silence should have a part in public ... anything.

If you search Facebook for MPR's page and look through their feed from yesterday, I'm sure you'll find it, and I'm sure the feed for my (Julie Schmidt Bowen) comment will be right at the top since people are, apparently, still adding replies today. Just know that I have no further desire to continue a rhetorical argument over an obviously touchy issue.

While I detest conflict, I won't back away from a fight. But the consequences linger. The emotional stress of conflict haunts me, and I have to replay the words over and over until I understand what caused it. So yesterday, as I searched for a bag of lost murrini, I stewed. As I sat down to make beads, I stewed. As I tried in vain to sort out a bank error, I stewed. But I also came to a realization.

You Cannot Do Both

The commenters, none of them, had any intent whatsoever to change my mind. They simply couldn't resist a fight.

And now I've put this garbage occupying my head into words, and now I can release it into the universe and be done with it. Thank you for being my eyes! Now you tell me - how do you approach conflict? How does that approach work for you? How do you navigate the wide path between coward and bully?

Thanks for stopping by!

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