The Power of Peace is in the Process: An Inauguration Day Prayer
One of the great privileges of a mediator is that every day you have a front row seat to a miraculous phenomenon. Process has within itself the power of peace. As warring parties turn their attention to a potential resolution and away from the source of the strife, dramatic changes begin to happen: to the parties, to the other participants, and to their perceptions of the problem itself. The change is as dramatic as water to a parched plant. The trained eye sees it immediately.
What’s the secret? The power is contained within the process itself. The effective mediator is the captain of the vessel, but the process itself is the river that runs to resolution. Why? The answer lies within the human heart. By nature, we are all conflicted creatures. One part craves to be victor in the midst of life’s conflicts; the other part yearns for resolution and peace. The active embrace of a process of negotiation has the potential to unlock the power of peace in each of our hearts. If we step into the process with an open heart to a reasonable resolution, the process itself will unveil the pathway to peace.
I wonder if the same pathway to peace is available to us today as a nation? Certainly! It all depends on our hearts. The reality is that at any given moment, I always think I am right about whatever I think should be done regarding the various issues of public policy facing our land. But after fifty-five years of living on the planet, I have discovered (sometimes quite painfully) that I am not always right. Our governmental processes are designed for us to come together in conversation to work together towards unity. Indeed, historians tell us that the word “parliament” derives from the French word “parler,” which means to speak. Thus, in its ideal, our congress and president and courts are to be a community of conversation leading to consensus. This governmental process is available in the United States and a few other places in the world. Everywhere else is under the dictatorship of some dogma or another.
Now, any student of real history (as compared to the patriotic or unpatriotic fictions we are usually fed in school) is aware that the ideal is never reached perfectly, and in some stages of our history, not at all. But it is our process that always contains within itself the possibility of peace; and thus, it is the process itself—not the particular players or policies of any given moment—that must be preserved. The process is paramount.
I fear that we are in danger today of forgetting that. If you do not like the outcome of the latest election, then there will be another one in two years. Our two-hundred and forty years of practice teaches us that, under changing labels, liberals and conservatives, progressives and pragmatists, centralizers and de-centralizers, moralists and immoralists, have been winning and losing elections and wielding and losing power throughout. And the truth is that they are all sometimes and partially right and sometimes wrong. Most real truth contains some paradox. If we travel too far down a particular trail of truth, we one day wake up in a wilderness of error. But our process, our community of conversation, always provides the needed correction.
Only once in our history did we turn away from our wonderful process and instead choose to exalt our competing dogmas. The results were deadly and devastating. The Civil War is fun to read about but it was an utter disaster to the people who lived and died through it. We have a great governmental process, which I believe is a gift from God to us. May we embrace it and engage one another with mutual respect, turning away from what divides us, and seeking solutions that we all can accept. The policy results won’t ever be perfect, but in the process, we will find again the power of peace.
Team Leader David Nutter has successfully mediated and arbitrated over 1,500 cases since joining Miles. His team specializes in complex business disputes, employment, corporate and partnership litigation and dissolutions, and banking and finance. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Mr. Nutter please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.