Let It Begin With Me
My husband and I got married in 1980. Sorry to say, as most brides and grooms, we were focused on the reception so I can’t say I remember a lot of the details of the mass. I do remember that we included a very popular song at the time called “Let There Be Peace on Earth” at the offertory.
As I am thinking about it now, it’s kind of a weird song at a wedding. Maybe I was prophetic in my choice. Anticipating a need for divine help in keeping the peace in my marriage! (See the picture above.)
I have been thinking a lot about peace lately since there seems to be a lack of it everywhere I turn. In foreign lands and in our own backyards there seems to be so much dissent, distrust, fear, anxiety, hatred, and war. It can become overwhelming.
So, what can we do?
It sounds so trite and inane, but I really think the first step to world peace is taken in our own shoes. It really does begin with us. I have started to live by that song’s lyrics; trusting and believing that I can make a difference. If I can relate to others from a place of peace, it will have a ripple effect. Peace begets peace.
So how do we find peace, lasting peace, so that we can live from that place? Not just an hour in a quiet house peace, or a biopsy negative peace, or a teen’s car pulling in the driveway peace. A peace that doesn’t depend on externals. A powerful peace.
I have been reading a book called The Art of Lent. It is a compilation of famous works of art with commentary by Sister Wendy Beckett. Each day of Lent there is a work of art to contemplate with a theme connected to it. This whole week the theme has been peace.
Sister Wendy says: “Peace is never imposed; it cannot be. It is a deliberate choice, an ordering of priorities in a moral context.”
We have a choice to be in a place of peace or not. We need to look at our priorities. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be in relationship?
“Peace rests upon the decision always to struggle towards goodness, whatever our condition.”
When faced with a decision to either act out in anger or step back and calm down, peace calls us to choose what is good. To struggle towards goodness, and boy, is it a struggle sometimes.
“To isolate oneself is not to be at peace, and makes the acceptance of true life (which peace entails) impossible.”
How often isolation is my go-to when I have been hurt. I just want to disappear. When someone has hurt me, I want to disappear from their life. Become unavailable as a way of saying “I’ll show them.” It feels like peace to pull away but it really isn’t. There is no true peace in isolation. Sooner or later, you have to re-enter.
I love these nuggets of wisdom on how to find peace from Sister Wendy. What is implied in all of these is our dependance on God for what it takes to find lasting peace. The wisdom to order our priorities correctly and make the right choice. The perseverance and the courage to struggle always toward goodness. And the humility and self-control to not run away from our hurts but face them with acceptance and trust that a loving God has our back and wants all the best for us.
With God’s help we can bring peace to the world, and it starts by bringing peace to our own world.
In the words of that unconventional wedding song:
With every step I take let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.
Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.