Peace, etc.


I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling weary.  I am scared to death that Trump and his cronies may come to power, and that there will continue to be ridiculous amounts of gun violence.

What kind of country are we creating for our kids?  It seems like we are reaching a tipping point, especially with gun violence, that demands action from the people.  I wish I knew how to take meaningful action, and inspire others, too.

I think back to what I’ve learned about the civil rights movement.  The leaders of that movement were much more savvy than most people realize.  They had their members intentionally dress in their Sunday Best when marching, and proceeded with amazing courage and non-violent protest.  They understood that the way to victory for a cause was not to fight fire with fire (traditional warfare), but to meet fire with love, ridiculous, transcendent love.  Why?  Because loving others in the face of adversity gives us the chance to remember and connect with our shared humanity.

I believe we have to look back at the history of non-violent protest in our country and around the world, and put it into action today.  I am not a scholar on the subject, and have no idea of how to make that happen, but it seems like the only thing that might work.

In the meantime, I take inspiration from the Prayer of St. Francis.  You don’t have to be religious to understand the message of trying to bring hope and understanding into the world.  It makes me feel like he was struggling to bring peace into a hostile world, too. Like he knew what was going to happen in human history, again and again.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Master, grant that I may not seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Until we figure out how to affect big changes and shut down the violence around us, we can at least start with smothering the violence and fear in our own hearts with love, ridiculous, transcendent love.  And in doing so, we honor our humanity.

What’s so funny and peace, love and understanding?

-Elvis Costello




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