Goggle tells me that at last count, our earth has been divided up into approximately 206 nation states. Sixty-seven of these are currently engaged in war or armed conflict varying from outright war, to civil war, to rebel groups, to fighting Islamic terrorists or drug cartels. That doesn’t count the people controlled in slavery, human-trafficking or smuggling. I gasp at the daily violence on our planet.
I live in the safe and free country of Canada. Even travelling to USA, seeing the number of armed military in public places seems foreign. September 11 was a turning point for me. When I was safe at home that day, curled up on my couch watching the towers drop for the x number of times, I suddenly became aware that are all human beings and we are not to hurt each other. Thomas Merton far more eloquently describes his moment at the corner of Fourth and Walnut as waking from a dream of separation. He saw that we are not separate, we belong to each other. He saw us all walking around shining like the sun, with our core beauty, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only we could see each other that way there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed.
I have growing in me, during the last decade, a great longing for peace. I’ve written before about being a Powerful Peacemaker. In a world where conflict seems the norm, what does it mean to be a peacemaker? How can I be non-violent in a violent world? —- Am I chasing rainbows? One person said to me today, “It’s a fairy tale, Anne.” I don’t think so. Do you?
Realistically, there are no soldiers at my door. But I know violence and I bet you do too. Violence is close to home. I think the first place I become a peacemaker is within me. Will I say “NO!” to the interior negative thoughts that seek to crush my God-breathed beauty? Then will I seek to engage in non-violent communication with others – no more sarcasm, teasing, critical words, judgement calls, competition or negativity. Will I choose to be thankful, see the core beauty of another, let go of grudges and extend forgiveness? That’s powerful work. It takes strength and lots of practice to lay down the weapons of my words.
Each year in November as we wear poppies for a few days, I recall those who died for my freedom, and each year the longing to find the pathway of peace grows. If you’re in Toronto, join me this Friday at 25 Wanless Avenue – 7.00pm for FIREWORKS! – Our topic this month is “Being non-violent in a violent world”. See http://www.contemplativefire.ca for details. We’ll explore together what this might mean. Let’s make a difference in our own world.
Go in peace
Community Leader Canada