Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dona Nobis Pacem - Grant Us Peace

Mimi at Mimi Writes designated today as a day of Peace. Bloggers all over the world are sharing their personalized peace globes (I could not resist using the Peanuts font for mine) and a few thoughts about peace. It’s not the type of thing I normally write about here, but it’s for a very good reason, so here’s a ‘peace’ of my mind about, well, peace…

My introduction to the idea of peace as a kid in the 80s was John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and iconic images of the 60s hippy movement. As I’ve gotten a little older, I realize there’s so much more to it. We need global peace, but as with liking one’s self, we need to have peace as a nation before we can pursue peace as a world. Of course, before we can have peace as a nation, we need to have peace with those around us everyday. For me, peace is a lot of things, some of which start with very small gestures.

The way I see it, peace can start with the little things like how we treat each other every day. It can be forgiving the coworker, classmate or neighbor that we feel may have done us wrong. Peace can also be going the next step and doing something to help or assist the person we feel has wronged us. Peace can begin with smiling or saying hello to a stranger on the street. My wife often laughs about my attempts at this small gesture of peace. She says that when I see someone coming towards me I will stare and smile at them until they smile back. Unfortunately, more often than not, the smile is not returned.

Peace can also start with doing the unusual and unexpected like paying for the elderly couple’s meal in the car behind you in the drive-thru or sending an anonymous check or cash to someone who needs it during the holidays. My wife and I were the recipient of this one Christmas and I’ve never forgotten it. What the person receiving the small gesture of peace chooses to do after receiving it is out of our control, but at least we are doing our part to be the change we want to see in the world (I wish I knew who to attribute that quote to, but unfortunately, I don’t). There is a gentleman I work with who I admire a lot more than he might think (hopefully today is the ONE day he won’t be reading this blog). Whenever I start to complain about something, he asks me the same question, ‘why are we all here?’ The answer: to help each other, which is a big step towards peace the way I see it.

Just as you can’t like others without liking yourself first, I think you have to have some form of inner peace before working on peace in a broader way. I think many people may feel happiness or contentment about life, but I don’t think that’s exactly inner peace (although I guess it’s really not my place to say since inner peace is experienced differently for everyone). I was able to experience inner peace for myself last year during the long night before my open-heart surgery. I don’t know why I even tried to sleep that night but I did. As the night went on, I began to feel more and more at peace with the life I had lived and whatever was about to happen. By the time we needed to walk over to the hospital, I could honestly say that I, like Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, had made my peace with God (and myself). That night and in the last few moments before I was put under for surgery, I had inner peace and it was a wonderful feeling. Of course, when I woke up from surgery hours later with tubes down my throat, groggy and in a lot of pain, any memory of my inner peace was long gone, but like I always say, that’s an entirely different story. If nothing else, I know that I was able to achieve inner peace at least once. Now I just have to figure out how to get back to that state…

Our world and each person in it need and deserve to experience peace. I know it’s a lofty thought, but wouldn’t it be nice if it could happen just once. I bet that if it happened just once though, no one would ever want to go back to the way things were before. It sounds quite cliché, but although everyone on this blue dot in the vastness of space may look slightly different, we are all made the same and have the same things working on the inside to keep us alive. Those things of course are our brains and our hearts. The time is long overdue for us to use both of them with everyone we come into contact with. We all need to remember that none of us were placed here to hate anyone and we need to start acting like it. Peace to all of you today and everyday!


I'll go back to writing about nothing worthwhile tomorrow...

18 comments:

The Old Fart said...

Stopping by to wish you Peace by way of Mimi

Dr. A said...

Great post. I like the Peanuts font. Peace!

Laura said...

The quote is from Gandhi- I googled it to put it in my own peace post. I think that peace will only come when we really think we need it- like you before your open heart surgery. Only then did you feel the need to stay up and find that inner peace. We have to find a way of convincing the world (and ourselves) that working for peace isn't something to do someday, in your spare time, but here and now, or else it will never happen, and our world desperately needs peace. Great post.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've been gone all day and just heard of this. I like your post a lot, and wish everyone could read it and take it to heart. (No pun intended.)

Peace and good health to you and yours, and all of us.

andrena said...

Peace be with you always...came via Mimi's Peace Globe...

Odat said...

Wow! This really touched my heart.'
Thank you. and it is an unfortunate thing that we experience those priceless moments of peace when our backs are against the wall (or facing drastic surgery as was your case). But I think those moments are put there so we CAN experience IT. That way we'll keep coming back for more. It's the universe's way
(or higher power if one believes) of letting us know Peace exists.
Thanks again for that fine tribute to peace...
PEACE!

Empress Bee said...

michael dear that was beautifly written. but i am so afraid as long as fanatics are trying to blow us up we may struggle to find peace. sigh.... i certainly do not know the answers and want world peace as much as the next one, but do not think i will live long enough to see it. maybe mimi is onto something. if we can change one mind, then maybe another, and another....

well...maybe someday it will happen. we can and should continue to try.

now inner peace is another thing, and i beleive i have found that.

ChiefMommy Owl said...

How could Britney and Kevin break up on the very day that we have to write about peace?!!!

Your post is very eloquent and you have exactly the right idea.

Warm fuzzies coming your way!
Sara

Josie said...

What a beautiful post. Peace really does begin within us, doesn't it? I think peace is the first cousin of serenity. And you can't have one without the other. I feel so sorry for people who are not at peace. Sometimes it takes staring at the brink to make us realize it, doesn't it? Like you on the eve of your surgery.

I love the philosophy of "pay it forward". I also believe in Karma. I believe we get back the good energy that we give out. What a peaceful world it would be if we could all learn to do that.

Cheers,
Josie

Bond said...

Peace to you and yours and the rest of the world by way of Mimi

Elaine said...

That was a beautiful post - wishes for peace to you!

ShadowFalcon said...

Peace to the world...

Lizza said...

Michael, that was wonderful! It was worth waiting for. :-) I hope you write posts like this from time to time (or maybe put up another blog for it).

I agree, inner peace transcends happiness and contentment. It's another kind of creature entirely.

Lee said...

Not to be crass or anything, but I experienced "peace" just last night about 20 minutes after I took two Nyquil Liquicaps and a red wine chaser. Finally!! Peace from this cold and consciousness.

But seriously, beautiful post. Peace be with you.

the Laughorist said...

An excellent homily, in the best sense of the word. I'm remind of Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh and others who note, peace is the way. We get peace by being peaceful. Period. Terrific post. Michael.

Mimi Lenox said...

Michael....This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us your deepest struggles and wishes for peace. All of us honor your unique spirit and the everyday wisdom you bring to the blogosphere.
Peace, love and blessings to you and yours on this very first Dona Nobis Pacem in the Blogosphere.
Mimi Lenox

PARLANCHEQ said...

So you mean the world would be a nicer place if we were all nicer to each other? Who knew? ;)

Nice post. And I love the smiley on your peace globe.

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