what a strong gust of wind taught me about conflict

We recently had a storm in our area that forced me to deal with a household maintenance issue I had been avoiding for a while.

You see, we are fortunate enough to live on a really pretty two acre piece of property in the country that is (mostly) enclosed by a wire “field” fence. But, there is a section that is about 40 yards long that is a 6 foot wooden privacy fence that separates our property from one of our neighbors. It has been in disrepair since we bought the place and honestly, I have had no desire to mess with it.

Until the storm. Then, a HUGE chunk of it fell over and I had to deal with it.

As my neighbor and I discussed replacing the fence I asked him if he knew why there was a privacy fence between our property. Really, it has always seemed out-of-place. It turns out several years before either of us lived in this neighborhood the tenants of our respective residences had a feud that led them to hastily build a fence between them.

And, I mean it was hasty. If you know anything about building privacy fence a majority (if not all) of the posts are sunk into concrete to keep it steady. It turns out none of the posts were put into concrete but merely sunk into the ground.

And, all of these things came out because of a strong gust of wind.

Because when we build up fences, people ultimately get hurt down the line. We think that our feuds only have to do with those who are fighting. But these fighting neighbors were not thinking about anything down the road. They were just thinking about their fight and how they could avoid one another.

Our divisions and fights have the same effect in the long run. Most of the time it is just easier to build a fence and pretend people don’t exist if we disagree. Instead of really dealing with the conflict we find ways to negate and marginalize.

But, I would like to pose a question here: what if these two parties decided to actually talk and understand the rift between them. Because, you know what? Whatever disagreement they had is absolutely irrelevant to my neighbor and I. But, we have to deal with the fallout.

Today I want to challenge you to think about the conflicts that envelop you. Have you just shut this person off? Do you speak ill of them behind their back? Do you feel like there is any hope of resolution or have you just given up?

Be honest with yourself as you reflect on conflict. Because ultimately, we all have to live together. We can’t just wish someone away. And, even if you decide to build a fence and pretend they are not there, someone will pay for it in the end.

There is a happy ending to this story. My neighbor and I decided to not replace the privacy fence but just install a wire fence like the rest of the property. That way we can see each other and…..wait for it….spend a lot less money in the process.

What are your thoughts?

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