I was ready to do just about anything to avoid a confrontation. In fact, the very thought of meeting with this particular individual had made me feel physically unwell.
That's when I confided in a friend whom I knew would offer her thoughtful perspective. I explained my situation and I received the compassion and understanding I was seeking.
My friend reminded me that there was goodness in this individual-even if it seemed hidden-and that I could strive to see their goodness. She also said I had the strength to meet this challenge and see it turn around. Then she asked me a question I've never forgotten:
"Will you do this for world peace?"
My microcosm of a problem suddenly became an opportunity to contribute an olive branch to the canopy of world peace.
What if I saw this not as my problem, but as a problem governments and countries confront on a daily basis-from impasses to communication and failed compromises, to prolonged conflict and inbred hatred.
My friend's question was based on an understanding she'd gained from her spiritual practice. She and I both knew there are divine laws governing the universe and that "...divine Love hears and answers the human call for help; and the voice of Truth utters the divine verities of being which deliver mortals out of the depths of ignorance and vice. . . . Understanding this fact in Christian Science, brings the peace symbolized by a dove" (Miscellaneous Writings, Eddy).
Yes, I could do this for world peace.
September 21st marked the International Day of Peace. Just a few days later a flurry of attention began over Emma Watson's #HeForShe UN Speech in which the recently named UN Women Goodwill Ambassador introduced her latest platform on feminism and gender equality. Her impassioned speech earned her a standing ovation and rapidly traveled social media channels.
"You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN? It's a good question, and trust me I have been asking myself the same thing," Watson admitted with full transparency, adding, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
This year's day of peace was designed to be "a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples." Watson describes this transformation as a means to "....be a more true and complete version of oneself."
To be that best version of oneself is to strive first for peace within so that our actions are determined by our inner calm. The most permanent peace I've found is through trust in a divine order and control in my life-often right when things don't look so orderly and together on the surface.
Watson punctuated her remarks with a salient quote from English statesman Edmund Burke: "All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing."
You and I can both do something to counteract evil. Each time we side with harmony in our relationships, each time we say yes to forgiveness and humility we say yes to peace. Each time we choose to view a situation through the eyes of love, we have chosen a healing view.
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are . . ." (The Message, Matthew 5).
My changed perspective the day I consulted with my friend afforded me a whole new outlook on my meeting and prompted me to seek peace first within so I could express it without. The symptoms of illness faded away, and while my interactions with this individual did not change overnight, I found my higher goal of working for peace resulted in more patience and the strain I'd felt was replaced with dominion.
Perhaps you, too, have thought of something you can do today for the health of our global family.