Peace on Earth
Can It Be, and If So, Where Does It Begin?
A number of years ago, we belonged to a spiritual community and actually went to worship services regularly on Sundays. We haven’t done that in a long time. But this community was pretty special to us, and it just felt like the natural thing to do, then.
We felt it important to expose our son to what a spiritual community looked and felt like, and to help him to develop a concept of spirituality that worked for him. I believe he has been able to do that, as an adult. He has an incredible network, filled with people who really love him, and who he loves, as well.
He doesn’t belong to any church community or spiritual fellowship, but seeing how much he loves, and is loved, by so many friends, I believe he has what we’d hoped he would have in his life when he became an adult.
They Had Me With the First (and Last) Line of That Song
At the church we went to back then, they had a song they sang at the end of each service, that really rang true to me. It had me with the first line and last line, which both went like this — “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”. That line says everything you need to know about my approach to life, the ideal I try to live up to, and what I think of when someone asks, “How do we change what’s going on in the world?”
Where Does It Begin?
The change has to begin right here, with me. If I want peace on earth, I need to do everything in my power to bring peace to my little corner of this earth. I need to do everything I can to bring peace to every life I touch, and which touches mine. I can’t afford to lash out in anger, for any reason, if I want there to be peace on earth. If I do lash out in anger, I need to be ready to clean it up at the earliest possible time, when a cooler head prevails. Don’t let it linger for a moment longer than it needs to.
Hatred cannot trump hatred. Only love can prevail. I believe that. I believe that the power of love is far more powerful than any amount of hatred, no matter how much it seems that this just can’t be so.
I once caused considerable damage when I lashed out in anger, and it took me years to clean that shit up. I’ve worked pretty hard to cultivate a different way to live my life today. It takes a lot of practice, every day, to continue to hone the way I choose to live my life, today. The more I work at it, the more intention I put into the way I live my life, the easier it becomes to meet the world with a calm, reassuring demeanor, and to become a source for strength to those who might be going through rockier times.
Because of my position, what I do for a living, I am not in a position to be out on the front lines, protesting and causing a commotion about what’s going on. For that reason, I jumped at the opportunity to be in a position to retire sooner than 5 ½ years from now, which had been the plan up until recently. Once we move, I can retire at any time, but most likely by the end of next year. After that, I can say and do whatever I please, wherever and whenever I please. For now, I need to use discretion.
I can’t say for sure that I will take full advantage of that opportunity, but I like to think that I would. It’s been really hard to sit back and not say a whole lot when I know some of what I’m seeing in the world is just not right.
I know that when I was no longer comfortable carrying out what my previous position required me to do, I sought, and was granted, an opportunity to do something different. I am very grateful that I was able to do that.
Now, my current position, at least, allows me to be a force for positive reinforcement of employees of the agency I work for. I’m over training and employee engagement now. In my previous position, I always got to send the final letter terminating an employee, after their appeal of a proposed firing was not upheld.
In a 10,000 employee agency, I had to sign way too many of those letters for me to feel good about my job at the end of the day.
That’ll Be The Day
I really look forward to the day when I become just another citizen, who is free to speak his mind about any and all topics he wishes to speak up about. Yeah, that’ll be the day. Until then, I just try to follow the guidance from that song I loved, and used to hear at the end of each service — “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Nobody can keep me from doing my best to live by that line of that song. I won’t say that I nail it perfectly everyday — I don’t. I fall short of the mark all the time. But it is the ideal I shoot for.
Thanks to Victoria Ponte for tagging me to answer the question posed in her great story, Share the Sky:
How about you? How do you think writers can make the world a better place? What say you, Elena Tucker, Kirstin Vanlierde, Shaan Sood, San Cassimally, Bonnie Flach, Magdalena Ciniewska, Samantha Beach? Can writers make the world a better place, and how?