Instrument of Peace

I’ve been thinking a lot about the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It begins with Lord make me an instrument of your peace.

Last night I was not an instrument of peace. I allowed someone to elicit from me a less than harmonious response. I want to be the kind of person that doesn’t allow others, or circumstances, to disturb my peace. I want my outer body to be an impenetrable armor to my spirit–for my spirit is where my peace resides.

I’m reflecting now on what it was that caused me to lose my peace as the person who I allowed to steal my peace is someone I love very much and I’m intent to learn from the experience so that in the future I respond differently.

When I try to get to the bottom of the problem it seems that it was all a misunderstanding. There were, in fact, a series of misunderstandings:

  1. original desires
  2. division of labors
  3. financial interests

I’m realizing right now that when you boil down any altercation what remains is simply a misunderstanding. Communication is so crucial. And if, after your altercation, you don’t identify the misunderstanding, you will have “missed” understanding each other, and you will have missed the opportunity to lay a foundation of correct “understanding.” Interesting how similar the meanings of “foundation” and “understanding.” Solid foundations allow us to build sturdy buildings. Correct understandings help us build solid relationships. Both supply something solid to build or stand upon.

What I learned from last night:

  1. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our desires moving forward.
  2. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our division of labors.
  3. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our financial interests.

Something I learned about myself last night is that while I am getting better at communicating my feelings (I have a tendency to keep what I’m feeling inside for I hate conflict and confrontation), I still need to work on communicating what I’m feeling dispassionately. Essentially, when I’m feeling frustrated and upset, I would like to convey those feelings in a neutral manner. I do believe it is possible to communicate my frustration without becoming frustrated. Last night, however, was not one of those moments. So I will do better next time because I want to be an instrument of peace. I cannot allow others to disrupt my peace. I could have listend to the other person’s concerns without judging their concerns as complaints and personal attacks. I could have realized that what that person was saying revealed more about them than it did about me. I could have chosen not to take it personally. Had I had the insight I now possess, I could have looked for the underlying misunderstanding(s) so we could correct our foundation and build something solid to stand upon. I would not have “missed’ understanding each other.

I’m also reminding myself to look within for I’m finding it easy to identify all the things “wrong” with the other person, but remembering that others are our greatest teachers, and applying the principle of the light of vexation, I’m humbled by the remaining self work I have to do.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.