Greetings Fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I took a swim at a park near my parent's house today. I couldn't resist taking advantage of the weather we were given this day. After my swim, I took a walk, on which I passed a skinny white wooden post sticking out of the ground. I'm not quite sure of the function of the post, but it sure reminded me of a similar looking post on campus at Loyola University in Chicago. The post there, however, could be referred to as a "Peace Post," in reference to the slogan it wears: "May Peace Prevail on Earth." The three other sides of the post have the same message written in three different languages, one, I'm fairly certain, being Arabic, and another quite possibly in Hebrew. Whatever the case, the sign is an obvious ode to the diversity of those who want peace, the universality of the message of peace, and the necessity that all people from all world religions and all customs work together to achieve a lasting peace.
The Peace Post is always a pick me up on the way to and from class. Especially if I've just received "one of those grades," the ones we don't talk about unless to vent in front of close friends. But then, there is that Peace Post, urging me to constantly realize the larger reality outside of who I am.
It is easy to get tangled up in some of the messes of my own life. All of you can probably relate. Stress and anxiety over work, school, social life, etc, can bring us into a less than desired inner life. It is in this state, where we often find ourselves, that we are no longer possible instruments for peace. When I am talking smack about a close friend or family member, I am no longer a peace giver for them. On the contrary, I am a peace taker. And worse, I'm doing it in a subtle fashion that I feel confident they won't find out about. Ahhh...but how this can come back to haunt us in so many ways! I find that if there is someone who I have had some less than choice words for in the past that I am faced to face in the present, I am a bit intimated or even embarrassed. This is a natural function of our conscience, and it's that inner voice telling us that what we said or thought about that person was wrong...was peace taking.
But...I am human and I have to understand that being so comes with its boundaries. I could never, even if I wanted to, be a constant peace giver. I'd be burnt out if I tried to always spread peace everywhere I go. If you are someone who is very driven to bring good into your areas of expertise, I challenge you to continue to do so, but In a fashion that allows you to take some peace for yourself. This peace, once taken, can be distributed to those in need. It is a give and take world in which we live in, and, to see this for better is a liberating realization. Once we can free our minds from the burdens of the world, we can start to open our Spirit to draw peace and distribute peace to the world around us.
Starting small can lead to giant results. Think about people like Dorothy Day. I was just talking to a woman today who brought up the example of Day, the wonderful saint who started the Catholic Worker movement in which people lived in small communities to serve those in need. For Catholic Worker Communities, to serve the poor is to bring peace into the world. For Dorothy Day, being only one person, her dream was fulfilled in a small sense by bringing peace to a brother or sister. It turned out that her Spirit motivated countless others to live the teachings of the Gospel. One small step toward peaceful action on the part of Dorothy Day was one giant step towards peace for some of the more down trodden areas in the United States.
Peace comes in many different packages, but once opened, every package is a unique gift to this world. I hope we can all foster peace in our own lives, experience peace from other people, and ultimately help usher in a world where peace really can prevail. For now we have posts and people to remind us of what we want to work for.
your friend bob.