The Art of Living in Peace
Paix, שלום, Мир,Pace, Frieden,平和, Amani, 和平, Peace
Peace…the word “Peace” is so prevalent throughout the cultures of the world that there is even an app for you to convert the word “peace” to just about any language you wish.
What is most interesting is that, despite the world’s preoccupation with peace…sadly, peace is seldom ever achieved. I was born in 1949, and our country was just recovering from WWII when we sent troops to Korea, then Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In between those wars we sent soldiers off to far-away places on “peace keeping missions”; which were anything but peaceful.
The above simply chronicles the conflicts our country has been in. The world has watched in horror as the blood ran red upon the killing fields of Cambodia, or the African plains of Darfur. We watched the Russians have their turn at fighting the Afghans. We witnessed soccer stadiums be turned in to execution chambers. We have observed countless Hitler wannabes shed innocent blood in their quest for power.
The only thing the world has accomplished in its search for peace is that we now have millions resting in peace.
Just as difficult as world peace, is inner peace. I was a teenager and young adult in the 60’s when hippies walked the streets of Haight-Ashbury with peace signs on their vests and flowers in their hair. John Lennon was singing “Give peace a chance”, only to be gunned down on the streets of New York. We quickly learned that being passive didn’t work, when others didn’t wish to be passive as well. All it meant was you were defeated faster.
To combat our cynicism of peaceful coexistence, we barricaded ourselves in our homes. We called it cocooning. If there were people “out there” who wished to hurt us, then we would stay safe by staying home. What many found, while safely nesting at home, was that they were at war with themselves. We spent vast amounts of money to make our nests more comfortable because we thought that would make us happy…but we found ourselves woefully lacking. We sort of felt like the Wizard of Oz. From an outward appearance we looked happy and powerful, but inside we felt small and inadequate. We felt anything but inner peace.
The one good thing which came from our recent economic meltdown was we found that bigger homes, bigger television sets, cars as expensive as some people’s homes didn’t bring peace either. In fact, their economic burden in difficult times, brought pain and heartache…the polar opposite of the peace we were seeking when we bought them.
I’d like to suggest that cultures which value their elders seem to have a better chance at that elusive peace we all are in search of. There is a great deal us old folk can teach you youngsters. It’s not that we are smarter than your generation…it’s that our years have given us PERSPECTIVE. Those people who will take the time to sit and listen to the wisdom of their elders have much to learn. Don’t be distracted by the quivering voice, or the occasional time a point is repeated…it won’t lesson the wisdom imparted.
We would tell you not to worry so much…that your worrying will not change the outcome…it will just prolong your agony. We would tell you about the thousands of times when we thought our world was going to come to a crashing end…yet it didn’t.
We would tell you to enjoy the moment, instead of looking ahead, or behind. We would tell you about all the times we said to ourselves, “When I get to this age, or when I get promoted, when the kids start school…or when the kids get out of school…then I’ll… Then you will what? Start living? If you will listen, we would tell that is a fool’s dream. There is always another milestone beyond the one in front of you. Enjoy today!
We would tell you to value the people God has placed in your life. Don’t let a day…hell, don’t let a minute go by without showing the people you love that you love them. Enjoy every ounce of their being every minute of the day, because sadly we can tell you from experience that they can be taken away.
We would tell you to get rid of the people in your life not placed there by God. Get rid of those people who feed on drama, who are only too willing to kick you when you are down. If you are the nicest one in your circle of friends…then you need new friends. Peace does not exist where there is turmoil.
We would tell you to give your faith an opportunity to grow. We would tell you that we have had things happen in our lives which cannot be explained in worldly terms. Peace can be found in the knowledge that we are not alone; that we were created for a purpose…we are not random. Our time here on earth is God’s teachable moment with us. We would tell you to take time to be silent and to listen.
We would tell you that there are good days which follow horrible days. Your world will not fall apart when someone dies, or when someone falls out of love with you. We would tell you that life does go on…maybe not as it did before…but it does go on. It really does. You can learn to smile once again. We know this to be true because it has happened to us already.
So, there you have it…not world peace…but inner peace. It really is achievable…if you will only listen. Peace is a choice you make. Peace is something that cannot be taken away...it is something you give away.