Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved life. Nature was her playground, and the world seemed beautiful and good. She remembers dancing around on her 5th birthday feeling so grown up and good about herself.
As time went on, shadows crept into her life as they do into most people’s lives. She noticed that people weren’t always nice to each other and were sometimes actually cruel. Conflict, pain, and insecurity became part of daily life.
When her parents fought in the middle of the night, as they often did, this little girl got out of bed and tried to intervene. She stood between them and screamed at them not to fight. This didn’t always work, but it didn’t stop her from trying.
She had a best friend who actually seemed to enjoy conflict. She once arranged a meeting with some rival girls and dragged the little girl into it with her. As the other girls prepared to fight, the little girl told them to stop for a minute and think about what it was they were actually fighting about. No one could come up with an answer, so the conflict lost its spark and broke up. The little girl felt pleased that words and bringing things to awareness could actually have an effect on other people.
The little girl’s father died when she was still a girl which left her with many mixed-up emotions. On one hand, she loved her father and would miss him; on the other hand, she felt relieved that the fighting would stop. She felt so mixed-up that she didn’t even know how to grieve, and no one seemed to know how to help her because no one tried.
Now that little girl is a grandmother. She’s learned a lot about what causes conflict and what makes people hurt one another. She has a dream that has been dormant for a long time to help people find a new way to relate. She knows it starts with a new way of thinking about ourselves and one another. She knows that we will never end conflict, but she believes with all her heart that we can learn new ways to handle it. She is willing to dedicate the rest of her life to finding these ways and showing them to other people. Now if only other people would listen and learn as quickly as her childhood friends!