Why Peace is Still Possible
Building Peace Through Friendship
Friends are the family we choose. A familiar saying that I hold close to my heart. Though familial ties forged by blood are sacred, the bonds we create as friends often transcend those of family. Why? Because while God determines the family to which we are born, and biology binds us, friendship requires a conscious choice and demands commitment and work to keep it alive.
With our biological family members, blood ties force us to tolerate quirks and traits that may clash with our personalities and somehow still peaceably co-exist. How often have you wished that your parents would put your little sibling up for adoption? Yet, underneath that annoyance, you’re bound by loyalty and genes and perhaps, a reluctant but secret affection.
With friends, we’re allowed to seek people who have qualities and interests that mesh with our own and the freedom to decide whether or not to forge a relationship. Even if I neglect to call my parents regularly or express my appreciation for them, they’re still my mom and dad. Yet, for a friendship to flourish, it needs frequent nourishment. Otherwise, as a plant neglected, friendship will wither and die. And, as with anything, when we contribute our time and effort to something or someone of our own volition, we naturally feel a substantial emotional investment.
Life is challenging enough without the companionship and support that friendship provides along our journey.
Perhaps the most significant role friendships play is one of unification. Collaboration is essential on a larger scale, as seen among the various nations across the globe. Though economic motivation undoubtedly plays a vital factor, countries primarily form friendships out of a desire for world peace.
Today, such alliances hold center stage as the world remains transfixed in horror watching Russia’s brutal invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. Fresh off the heels of a global epidemic, which saw nations diplomatically work together to protect one another from the paralyzing effects of the COVID-19 virus, witnessing the senseless slaughter of innocents by a power-hungry dictator has drawn a visceral reaction from people everywhere. With world leaders forced to take a stance on Russia’s unprovoked aggression, alliances become critical factors in determining who will come to the aid of the Ukrainian people in the interest of preserving peace.
But more importantly, when fractures occur on a global scale, humankind faces a threat to its very existence. A single fissure can cause an entire foundation to crumble. Though there has been widespread condemnation and outrage, it has yet to become universal. Only when protecting humanity as a whole becomes every single nation’s overarching mission will peaceful coexistence one day become a reality.
What is it then that prevents humans from uniting? After centuries of strife, surely people everywhere are exhausted by continuing conflict. Do we need a pandemic to work together for a common cause? Disease doesn’t have to be the leveler. Isn’t our faltering climate enough to look to one another to save our planet, our home? Or has materialism, greed, and entitlement polluted our landscape so much that the human race is destined for destruction?
I remain optimistic. Hope persists where faith abounds. And I still have confidence in our innate capacity for good and our ability to learn and grow. Inherently, humans were born with the instinct to survive and procreate. But, more than that, we were never meant to walk this journey alone.
So, what is the first step in cooperation? Recognizing each other as one and respecting one another’s autonomy. Celebrating our differences as equals. As brothers and sisters, all interconnected in one big family, born not of blood but friendship and love. By choice. That may sound like a tall order with wars still raging, but, truthfully, it just takes one person at a time. To start. To decide that it’s worth it. To plant the seeds of friendship, which like wildflowers, will spring up everywhere.
Like Teddy Roosevelt astutely said, “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.” It is also essential to remember that we all share a common currency, readily available in every corner of the earth, to spend without restraint. It’s called love. Let’s spread the wealth.