Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peaceful Protest

Today I have to thank sincerely Dave from Living in the Now. Had he not been my first entrant for Wildcard Wednesday, and had I not been so endebted to him for his support of RMB since our early days, I was prepared to abandon my Carnival entrants and go off on another topic entirely.
Our local paper, The Miami Herald, ran a photo today that was so haunting, so enraging to me as a parent, of a terrified little Iraqi girl who had been wounded in a mortar strike. I cannot get her eyes out of my mind, and I was on the verge of swiping Maya Allerruzo's photo and going off on a political rant.
But thanks to Dave, I was brought back to my center by his unknowingly appropriate photo to consider one of my central beliefs. I try to follow the tenet that if you truly want peace in the world, it is not enough to think about peace, not enough to wish for peace, not even enough to pray for peace. If you truly want peace, you have to be peace. You have to stand in the center of your own being, in your own place of silence, and be the peace that you would have in the world.
Parents know this in its simplest form as the count to ten rule. When your child has just trampled your last nerve, count to ten and find your own peace before responding, and answer your child with all the love and caring available at the center of your soul. Even if the answer involves a punishment, administer it from a place of peace. We've all seen it on our family level; one person, be it mom or dad or any caregiver, standing in absolute peace will dissolve the anger of the most hysterical child. One person ranting only adds to the escalation of violence.
When you consider it, isn't this season all about peace? Doesn't everyone want peace on Earth, goodwill towards men? It isn't tied to which church you attend, or don't attend, although many are able to leave behind worldly concerns and access peace in church. It isn't tied to one religion or another, and in fact religions have been invoked as reasons for most wars.
We seek the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that speaks no language and every language. For each of us it is important to take a few moments every day to connect with peace and send that peace out into the world.
I remember a story I heard about a person who had a near death experience. She had been in a horrible car accident, in the middle of rush hour, and died while waiting for help as the ensuing traffic jam prevented a quick rescue. As she floated out of her body, she could hear all of the people in the other cars, angry and upset at how delayed they were due to the accident. But then she heard one person praying for the stranger who was in the accident, praying for that stranger's family, sending love and kindness out to a total stranger.
Be that person who in the midst of the angry crowd, in the situation that ruins your schedule, in the moment that could bring out your worst, be the person who is peace.


Sandy C. said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for such a great reminder. Especially during the craziness of the holidays, we all need to remember this.

I love Dave's photo too.

BTW...I used to read the Miami Herald all the time. I lived there for 24 years :)

David said...

Hooray I can post now! Being peaceful in our modern American life is quite a challenge. Thich Nhat Hanh has been helpful for me in that way.

God can choose to calm the situation or calm the person in the storm. In situations out of our control like traffic jams, arguments, etc., we can choose how we respond. That *is* the toughest thing for me to do as a parent and a person.