by Susie Michelle Cortright
There is a law that guides the peace process, and while world
leaders may disregard it, your average mommy knows it pretty
It is this: The world can be only as peaceful as you are.
And it all starts with you.
I have three kids under the age of 5. If I wake up in a sour
mood, the day is headed for disaster. For the sake of all
involved, I must have a little talk with myself and get back
into a peaceful place before I greet their small sleepy
faces each morning.
This is not just a nice idea that makes life easier. It's
survival. Even if I offer up my biggest fake smile, they
can tell. The four-year-old whines, the two-year-old cries,
and the baby knits his brows and searches my face for some
sign that my mood is going to crack and sunshine is going
to burst right out of my face.
Why am I starting by talking about peace of the family in
this world where the high-stake international peace process
is teetering on the brink of who-knows-what? Because we forget
sometimes that it all begins here.
The word "peace" has taken on a strange shadow these days.
I watch some very angry people protest for a more peaceful
world. I see all manner of things done in the name of peace
to the point where I don't know who or what to believe.
I see "peace" understood as something that happens out
there, by military and political leaders the world over.
But the hard part of the peace process begins when we
understand that the peace of the world begins no further
than the kitchen table.
The massive problems we're having with peace on a global
level got their start on a personal scale. One business
owner decided to exploit an employee. One parent
psychologically ravaged a child, who grew up to lead
a nation. One person saw something that shouldn't be
but thought "who am I to stop it?"
We start to solve these big problems when we understand
that every thought we think, word we utter, action we
take, and dollar we spend, brings the world closer
to--or further from--peace. Right now, today. In short,
I guess, we wage peace by embodying peace, and we do
that by loving our guts out, whenever we get the chance.
That means we have to start by looking directly at the
decisions we make all day long. We wage peace by refusing
to wallow in thoughts that pull us away from a peaceful
place. By letting go of anger and guilt. By not being too
busy to reach out to the person who we know needs it. By
deciding against spreading that juicy little rumor.
By refusing to buy anything that makes us wonder how
it could possibly have been brought to market at such
a price. By overlooking the silly stuff and accepting
our friends and family just the way they are.
When we embody peace ourselves, we put love into action
in this world...right here, where we live, breathe,
and wait in line at Wal-mart (which, as any mother of
small children will tell you, can be a decidedly
unpeaceful thing to do.)
When others are in the presence of such peace, they
begin to feel it themselves. Then they take it into
their own worlds. The process is very natural when we
recognize that every squeak of kindness is a step
toward peace. Every peep of love is a step toward a
greater awareness of God in our everyday lives.
From that peaceful place, we ask for (and listen to)
guidance for own personal part in solving the
problems produced by our collective, unconscious
disregard for the peaceful path in the past.