Digging through old notebooks for poems to add to my site, I came across this one. Looks like it started out as a song but, Bruce Cockburn style, devolved into a poem.
A poem on WIZ got me thinking about a walk I took around Cardston when I was about 25 years old.
Originally posted on Mars Denar Religion:
Today’s priesthood lesson was from Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, chapter 6 “Sustaining Those Whom the Lord Sustains”. I missed part of it because I had to slip out to check whether my sons were making a wreck of Primary sharing time. They weren’t, fortunately. When I came back to priesthood, the topic was dealing with dissension–not dissent, but dissension, as in how does a bishop help two members in conflict to make peace with each other?
My mind went to two incidents involving me. One happened a couple of years ago at work and still hasn’t been satisfactorily resolved from the perspective of making peace with each other. Suffice it to say that although, for the sake of peace, I accepted the boss’s decision on how the disagreement should be settled and sportingly, from my perspective, apologized to my opponent for participating in that person’s distress, I came away somewhat mistrustful of those for whom and with whom I’d made peace, largely because I felt the peace came at my expense and no one else’s and because the “winner” in the disagreement showed no signs of seeking to understand me, a concept which another member of the quorum introduced shortly after my return from Primary. Throughout the incident, I had sought very hard to understand the other person’s concerns and needs and find solutions to the conflict which would afford us a win-win. Not being schooled in this approach, the other person focused on forcing me to do things their way, including apologizing. The apology with which I capped off the affair was not, as the other person apparently assumed, judging by the lecture on my failings which accompanied the magnanimous acceptance of my apology, an acknowledgment of defeat or a confession of my sins, but rather an acknowledgment of the other person’s pain and of my part in it. These are perhaps fine distinctions that require some refinement to perceive, but in any case, the day after my opponent perceived that all had been amicably concluded, I found that I could not in good conscience pretend to be at peace with the situation. I would not agitate for a reopening of the case or plot any sort of deep-vaulted revenge, but neither would I smile in my enemy’s face. The long and short of it is that after nearly two years, this other child of God and I have not managed to be anything like friends, not least because I have not managed to harbor a consistent desire to heal the breach.
The second incident happened just yesterday. My wife and kids had just returned from an outing of some sort and my wife had asked our youngest boy to go have his bath. At our house we have a system for baths. On Mondays and Thursdays, our oldest goes first, followed by our middle child and then our youngest. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the middle child goes first, followed by the youngest and then the oldest. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the youngest goes first, followed by the oldest and then the middle child. On Sundays, they take turns deciding the order. I installed this system to deal with the constant problem of their fighting over who should be first and so on. It was driving my wife round the bend and getting my goat, too, whenever I was home to hear the debates and take over the goading. You’ll be pleased to know that the system works very well most of the time. Yesterday was something of an exception, as the youngest kept taking his sweet time getting undressed and making his way to the bathroom. I’m talking in the tens of minutes. Finally, the oldest, who was in mainly Dr. Jekyll mode, I think, got himself undressed and took over the bathroom. Naturally, our youngest was by now ready to begin his ablutions and a loud discussion ensued. I resolved the issue by evicting the older boy and telling the younger to hop to it. Naturally, the older boy was deeply offended, not least, I would hazard, because he was trying to help. I knew from experience that an amicable reconciliation would not be possible so soon after the boy’s disappointment, so I briefly stated my opinion that the caustic glower was uncalled for and commanded him to get dressed again while he waited his turn. A little later, I told him to come for a hug and a talk when he’d done his bath. This he did of his own accord and I explained that although I was grateful for his willingness to step in and get the bath ball rolling, as the relevant authority, I felt that maintaining the routine was more important because we needed to prevent frequent future bottlenecks and the concomitant matronly dissatisfaction, which can get loud and last for weeks. He indicated that he understood.