For almost two decades, I’ve been studying conflict and the path to reconciliation. Actually the study part is pretty easy, for without conflict there’s very little to talk about. All of history is punctuated with conflict — minor disagreements, friendly competitions, life-long antagonism, and lethal combat. We spend the greater part of our waking hours navigating through conflict.
What has been missing for many of us has been the discovery of the path to reconciliation. Conflict can be “solved” by mere avoidance on one side and complete annihilation of our enemies or of our selves — or perhaps both — on the other. I’m convinced that the key to this comes from seeking the truths of the message of reconciliation and owning them as our ministry. 2 Corinthians 5.
Granted, I’m better at conflict resolution on some days than I am on others. I was trained as a lawyer. I enjoy the competition that advocacy brings with its strategy and positioning. Yet, I am learning that its thrill is nothing compared to the rush that comes when two or more conflicted individuals ask God to join them in their conversations and peace breaks out!
I am blessed with the best job in the world. As the Executive Director of Abilene Christian University’s Duncum Center Solutions, I have a front row seat to view God in action.
As much as I have come to know about conflict and about peace, I learn something new every day. I am no authority, simply a pilgrim on the path to reconciliation.
The late Zoe, the Great Pyrenees – Siberian Husky – Wolf mix canine, who resided for three years in my back yard – came into our lives over a decade ago when she was adopted by our son. She came to live at our house when back yard space became an issue. We originally thought this was to be a temporary arrangement until a few health issues surfaced and we became attached to Zoe. About that time, I began expanding my FaceBook and Twitter worlds and I needed something to write about. And thus, Foster Dog was introduced to my friends. My friends found her life to be much more interesting than mine and, thus, I dedicated a fair amount of energy to sharing “her” thoughts and philosophy on a semi-regular basis. It was all done for fun.
And then there’s Togo . . .
Togo has proven to be a challenge in some ways — as is evidenced by this picture when he was about one with his trophy, the remaining greenery of a particular bush he disliked. Shrubs, swings, air conditioner compressors. Nothing was too much of a challenge.
But Togo is past much of his youthful destruction and spends most of this time enjoying his daily walks and talking with me about the world around him. Togo makes us laugh and he teaches us lessons daily about love and not taking ourselves too seriously.