Friday, November 6, 2009

The Final Conflict

I heard a StoryCorps interview this morning on NPR. I don't recall the name, but the man was an undertaker and now took care of an historic cemetery in Atlanta. He explained how when he was in grade school, the teacher asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up and he knew immediately - "I want to be an undertaker."

He talked about holding ceremonies and burying his pets down by the creek when he was younger and how he heard people talk about how someone looked at a funeral. So, he became and still is an undertaker.

His last comment linked with me as a mediator and perhaps might with you too. When asked about why, he said that while he may work with death every day, he saw his role as "to help lighten the load of the families dealing with the loss of a loved one." I think that's close to what we do as mediators.

We try to help lighten the load of people who are in conflict. Now the comparison can only go so far; however, perhaps we, like the undertaken, ease certain aspects of dealing with conflict. Of course, being in a conflict and being dead are vastly different, or is death the final conflict? In any event, on this beautiful Fall day here in North Carolina, go forth mediators and help lighten the load of the conflicted.