Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words. ~Saint Francis of Assisi
Occasionally as parents, we begin to see the sweet buds of good fruit of long years of the hard labor you sometimes wonder is worth it. While my offspring are still a pack of wild talking jackals when it comes to eating, they are starting to nail proper restroom courtesy. Upon exit of the central hallway bath, one child might kindly alert us all, ‘Do not go in there.’ They do it out of a deep and abiding love for me and maybe to avoid the spontaneous outburst that happens when any of us accidentally walk into a terrible nose trap.
It makes good sense to all of us.
The recent election has funked up the bathroom of the American people.
And now it feels like we all just rushed into the tiny hallway bath, crowded around the commode and either gloated about what just happened or tried to kick the commode.
But I know the one thing we all know:
it stinks in here.
Grab some Poo Pourri? Maybe turn on the courtesy fan?
I’ve been watching people and taking some notes from the other room.
1.Peacemakers have double vision. Only some of the people see the real problem. The other half see a good solution. Peacemakers are able to take in both and begin constructing the bridge that connects the two. Building bridges is an intentional, methodical practice grounded in humility, compassion and the opposite of our own opinions
2. How to use the ‘hide posts’ feature on Facebook.(Also wise to note? That last option, though.)
3. Timing is everything. Second to heartbeat, knee-jerk is the most common autonomic nervous system function. When people talk about hitting their knees in a hard season, I think this must be what we sometimes mean. We’ve all seen all the things updated, posted, viraled out and shared to death and who in America’s bathroom could keep their breath with such a violent volley? I am able to fan away the toxic easily. But what makes my eyes water? I’ve seen exotic petals of healing and beauty and necessary truth the world needs to hear burned up in passion’s hot furnace to be flushed in a sea of words we are drowning in that become just one more letter. Peacemakers know how to hand us golden apples when our eyes are burned up, fed up, and give-slap-up on all things silver (Proverbs 25:11).
4. Words aren’t always necessary. Picture it with me? There’s a terrible blizzard, see. And the whole World and her aunts and uncles and grannies and cousins twice removed are standing out in the front yard in sleeveless graphic muscle shirts flexing opinions about how to keep warm. Some have stripped their shirts and painted word-shock bombs across their own bare skin and one is spitting mad over whether to use organic versus synthetic yarn and she is mad he is breathing her air and still a few are whispering, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ And the peacemakers?They’re nowhere to be found. They’re already inside knitting sweaters for all the people. They probably have a pot of hot chocolate on, too. Peacekeepers love chocolate.
5. Peacekeeping is a family business. Often when leaving for the day, the man I love will call to us on the way out the door, ‘Represent today! God first, Blair second.’ Because running late to school doesn’t often allow for tender subtleties, I will say something more like, ‘Don’t you act a fool because it reflects on this whole family!’ Sometimes I say ‘foo’ but the message is the same: you are the walk to all our proud-mom-alert talk and you will be a good human or so help me you will suffer the wide cavernous wrath of my hot embarrassment. God is always nicer about everything than me but I think He means something just as serious and similar. Matthew 5:9 is a red-letter family motto straight from His own flesh-on-earth mouth: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
‘The temptation is to go mad with those who are mad and to go around yelling and screaming, telling everyone where to go, what to do, and how to behave. The temptation is to become so involved in the agonies and the ecstasies of the last days that we will drown together with those we are trying to save.’
~Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart