WHEN we're faced with a conflict of wills in a family, we don't have to feel devastated but can find a resolution and peace. Some years ago during my first year of college I learned of a summer youth meeting that I wanted very much to attend. But when I called my parents to see if they were willing to let me go, the answer was a resounding ``No!'' It's too far away, they said. It will cost too much. We don't think it's really important enough.
At first I felt crushed. Then angry. But as I began to think rationally, I realized a need to proceed more quietly, with great patience.
Amid all the clamor of my family's distress signals, I began to pray. My first thought was to check and see if my motives for the trip were clear. The conference itself was one that could be an aid to my progress in school. With the informa tion it might offer, I felt I could come back to college better prepared to continue my studies. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy1 writes, ``Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action.'' She goes on to say, ``Patience must `have her perfect work.' '' 2
Patience, my dictionary suggested, includes calmness and composure. Again, there was that need I had sensed earlier for peace in place of conflict and anger.
Over the course of several months, when discussion about the meeting arose among friends, I kept my own counsel and remained quiet. It was a way for me to nurture the idea rather than agitate either myself or others.
As summer approached I was offered some part-time employment that would more than cover the cost of transportation to the meeting. Students at a university near my home offered me a ride; housing with a family near the conference site became available.
But there was still resistance from one of my parents. Again, I turned to God in deep prayer. I prayed to know that I could talk with my parents without confrontation, without posing my will against theirs, but quietly, joyfully sharing all I had learned about being willing to let each step of the trip work out. As the offspring of God, each of us truly expressed the one Mind, was governed by the one divine Ego, in which there are no clashes.
If this trip, however much I wanted it, were to cause dissension in the fam- ily, I felt it would have to be set aside. I thought about what Paul said when speaking of the master Christian, Christ Jesus, and of how he broke down the wall of hostility between Gentiles and Jews: ``He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us . . . . Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.'' 3
I knew that the compassionate healing power expressed by Jesus is available to all of us, and that the healing Christ certainly does break down barriers of resentment, selfishness, anger. As we're receptive to the Christ, to the divine healing influence, we see that all individuals really are of one household--God's. And we realize that we can express the patience and peace so needed.
I went to talk with my parents, filled with love for their caring for me, grateful for their concern. I shared honestly all that I had accomplished but stated clearly that if the trip would cause inharmony in the family, I was willing to forgo it. The response was that since everything had obviously worked out so well, so effortlessly, I certainly should go. Yet there still seemed some hesitation.
I continued to pray to see that our Father-Mother God doesn't give us partial resolution to a problem but completeness. When I reached my destination, a letter was waiting for me from my parent. It was filled with such love that I knew the experience was complete for us all. There was even a generous check included.
This was a good lesson to me both in patience and in the need to see that family conflicts can be healed, that inharmony is not the norm, that one person's will does not have to be set against another's until an explosion occurs. The divine will alone should be recognized as governing man, as the only genuine will.
We have the ability to be peacemakers. As we trust God, letting Him direct our way; as we let go of a clinging desire to map out our every step and pray to do what seems most right, most loving, we will find peace--a peace we can then share.
1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health, p. 454. 3 Ephesians 2:14, 19. Daily Bible Verse: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.