This is an article that was written as a joint effort of the Chaplains in my CPE program for the hospital employee newsletter.
We all experience conflict. In fact we are all bound to experience conflict because we perceive the world through our unique lenses. Through my lenses, some people just don’t smell right. A co-worker in the same room wears a fragrance that makes me choke. Some people just don’t speak right. All these Southern hospitality phrases sound sweet, like, “honey,” “darling,” “sweetie” and “dear”. You know as well as I do they don’t always mean sweet, but then, what do I know.
Most people act like they have it all together, but as a Chaplain, when I go up to someone in the hall and ask “Hi, how are you today” the reply, out of habit, is usually “Fine, thank you.” Come on! We aren’t always fine.
Conflict turns up and you don’t know where it came from. I always try to be nice to everybody. All I asked was, “How tall are you?” He said, “Why do you want to know? How was I to know he was sensitive about his height? Well, isn’t that just the point, how would I know? It’s the little things that we have no control over that come out of our mouths that are experienced as hurtful by others.
Being kind and courteous is a great way to carry oneself in the work environment. But, remember, you’re not a machine. People will experience you in ways that you do not intend. Give yourself a break and do the same for others also.
God wants us to be in harmony with each other. Being in harmony requires working on relationships. Conflict grants us the capacity to achieve tolerance, forgiveness, harmony, community and peace. The hospital environment is a great opportunity to practice experiencing people of all different smells, speech, looks, actions, and beliefs.