A thought on conflict & other musings on a Friday…

This morning I was listening to one of the podcasts I try to catch weekly (The Ryen Russillo Podcast – its sports, entertainment, discussion on movies, & life advice.) Today’s episode featured a conversation with longtime NBA referee (& now Head of Referees) Monty McCutchen. Something McCutchen said about conflict really jumped out at me. Here’s my sum-up version (with apologies to Mr. McCutchen):

“I’ve been in this business for 30 years; I don’t try to avoid conflict, but rather to maximize the positive impact conflict can have on relationships. Think about it: if we’re both in the same field over a 30-year period of time, there will be countless opportunities where conflict can & will arise. It might be over a differing opinion over a call I make, it might be a personality clash, it could be anything. But  the fact that we BOTH are going to be interacting in each others lives for decades is enough reason to use conflict positively, as something that allows us to build & grow our relationship. Because our lives are about MORE than this conflict we’re having – if we both can keep that in mind, we can learn to embrace humility, recognize our own faults & challenges, & contend for lasting relationship. Because in the end, that’s what’s most important in life.”

I’ve been thinking about that statement all day… especially because in my experience, conflict is something that I don’t relish, let alone look forward to as a potential “growth opportunity.” (Honestly, most of the growth opportunities I seem to have encountered are as attractive as a novacaine-free root canal. But I digress…) This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the “conflict leads to growth” idea, but it is the first time in a long time I’ve thought about it long enough to begin to grab ahold of & work on embracing it… again, not seeking conflict just to stir things up, but seeing conflict as an inevitability for people who have chosen to walk through life together. Maybe its in a workplace, family situation, or more pointedly for me & my life, in a church community.

Looking back, the greatest friends that I have in this life are people with which I’ve navigated significant conflict & come out the other side.

I’m going to be thinking on this some more…


In other news, I went to the doctor in January of this year for my annual checkup. As I just turned 50, I discovered that there are several recommended tests & procedures recommended for this man who is now of a certain age. Let’s just say there were lots of “discussions” about prostates, colons, & other fun & (exciting!) procedures that need to be undertaken as a part of the new “50 year old’s health & wellness journey.” I left the office that day not necessarily looking forward to what was in front of me.

Fast forward 6 months – I received an email with a reminder that I need to get a colonoscopy scheduled & performed as soon as possible. In the midst of the pandemic & other craziness of 2020, it had completely skipped my mind. Until yesterday. Oh joy.

I called & left a message & then received a return call a few short minutes later. The P.A. on the other end of the call started off the conversation saying, “So, I hear that you are wanting to schedule a colonoscopy…” Now, words MEAN things to me; I can’t say, “Yeah, I want to schedule this…” as – I HAVE NOT & DO NOT want to have this procedure, but my primary care doctor strongly recommended this for me. So I relayed this to the nice lady: “Want to schedule? No. Need to schedule at my Doc’s request? Yes.”

And she laughed.


Sweet iced tea is too sweet for me. But I love to  put a packet of Splenda in my Pure Leaf Unsweetened Black Tea. Go figure.


After an 18 month writing/blogging hiatus, I feel like I am beginning to get back in the swing of things. I missed this.

Life is beautiful… & full… & other musings…

I’ve been functioning at ‘high-demand’ the last 8 weeks – & I’m feeling it. A full complement of pre-marrieds, Wednesday night Revelation class, & deadlines for my “Human Behaviour In Organizations” (aka HBO) class have been shoe-horned into the normal life schedule, leaving me with at least 4 nights/week spoken for… so I’m shaking it up. Finishing the grad school class tomorrow, marrying off a couple (booyah!) & zealously guarding the evening times wherever possible. Here’s to living in balance.


Got to fulfill a lifelong dream: saw U2 in concert in Oakland on Tuesday with theBean & a couple of great friends. It was a great time. Even the part afterwards where we got to experience traffic jams, a BART snafu, & the Amazing Disappearing taxi cabs of Oakland, CA. The show ended at 11:40ish, & we arrived back at our hotel at 02:45… That experience is its own blog, which I can now write because I have lived it. Now just to recover enough to do it.


My final project for the HBO class is a “Conflict Analysis” – I get to review a conflict that has taken place at a place of my choosing, (I pick my church!) review Conflict Management Theory, & apply relevant theories for managing & resolving conflict in a functional (aka beneficial, good, productive, healthy) manner.

As I prepared for the project, I had the “good fun” of looking back over many conflicts within the church from the last several years. Many of them began as differences of opinion. Some as hurt feelings. Unmet (unspoken?) expectations. Frustration. Real/perceived violation.

In retrospect, the conflicts that seem to end up as “functional conflicts” had a few factors in common:

    -clarified, persistent communication from both parties, even when the words spoken were hard to hear;
    -little to no ‘outside communication’ (aka pleading one’s case to other parties, people not directly connected to the situation in question)
    -humility & grace extended;
    -believing the best for & from the other person;
    -a willingness not only to ask for & extend forgiveness, but a determination to LIVE in it, thereby rejecting the temptation of being offended & not developing the always deadly & always resulting bitterness

My hope in life isn’t to attempt to remove conflict; I think that would be impossible, because whenever 2 or more people live life together & attempt to accomplish something, conflict WILL happen. But it doesn’t have to be destructive.

I’m contending for that. & purposing to try to live in such a way that I can hope for & bring out God’s best in people’s lives.


Looking to head to the gym with theWeez as soon as her breakfast settles. I haven’t been able to gymnasium for a couple of weeks as I’ve been letting a couple of minor ‘ouches’ get better & heal on their own. Today, I’m going to go at it lightly, & hope for the best.