I’ve been called the “peacemaker” by family members.
It comes up in conversations that describe someone’s persona–when you would choose words like strong, honest, sincere, hardworking, etc. But the peacemaker tag on me wasn’t looked on with admiration: it was a critique. “well, you know Ann–she’s always the peacemaker..” and the comment trails into a place where the listener is to draw their own sordid conclusions. If there were a translator for the definition-impaired hired for the people who couldn’t hear what my family truly meant though, she’d sign something like, “well you know Ann, she’s always fixing everyone else’s emotional issues, at her own expense.”
When I was younger I used to think it was a good thing to be a peacemaker. Sue me if you will, but when there’s a lot of unrest I tend to crave someone to calm it all down. Our government has devoted an entire division in New York City toward keeping the international peace, and any time somebody says “I represent the United Nations” everyone else says “wow, that’s cool!” and, I imagine, give that person a good chair with a view or an extra cup of coffee no charge.
But the “make it better” tag-line in my world has been a bad one. I see that now as I age. Being called a peacemaker by folks in my family was a strange yet accidental–because they love me–way of making me sound like the sap of the bunch. “You know Ann…always peacemaking–” like I’m the one volunteering to clean up the kitchen after they all make their mess and walk away from the filth.
I’m picking off that tag now–for better of for worse–and it’s caused some interpersonal waves in the family. LIke I always tell my kids–growing up sometimes hurts. But I see now that taking care of other people’s business because they can’t (or won’t) has been bad for me–and if the truth be told it was none of my business to be doing it in the first place.
It doesn’t mean I don’t love everyone. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. But it does mean that the local chapter of the family United Nations has closed–permanently–and for anyone standing around hoping for it to reopen, I say it’s time to duke it out amongst yourselves. Find your own peace.
And if I stay clear of you all while you do so, it’s not because I don’t care: it’s because I’ve got a battle going on in my body that needs all the peacemaking efforts I can direct toward it. And really, you don’t need me to fix you anymore–you never did. We just both let it happen that way.
And now it’s time to stop.
|Posted August 17th, 2012 by|