For those on Facebook this has been a familiar post over the past few days. It was a reassuring statement in the dark days immediately following the murders in Connecticut. And for me it also brought back warm memories of singing that song with loved ones each Christmas Eve. After I included the phrase as a status update in Facebook, I thought about its meaning, or at least its meaning to me. I worried that for many it would just become the “flavor of the month” and then later meaningless as we move on with our lives.
So I decided to come up with a list, one that I can post on my refrigerator and my desk at work to remind me that peace does being with me.
To bring peace into my life and hopefully into the lives of others I will:
1. Watch less television and turn it off or turn channels when there is violent programming on, including news shows that often seem to commercialize violence.
2. Continue to monitor my use of the word hate. There are many things I dislike but very few deserving of the label of hate.
3. Continue to use offensive and violent lyrics as a teaching moment. Teach about equality.
4. Not spend money to view violent movies especially those that glorify violence against women and children.
5. Come to a better understanding of the charities I support financially to see what they are doing routinely to promote peace and equality in order to determine if I should realign my personal giving.
6. Continue to seek out funding for HAVEN’s Prevention Education programming. Because working for a world that is safe, equitable and accountable, begins with educating our youth.
In a searching for something last week I rediscovered a book given to me in 1990, “Imagine – Render a Gift of Peace.” I was taken by many of the short articles, stories and poems. At times it seems like we have advanced as a society. Yet as I reread portions of this book I wonder if we really have.
“We live in stirring times with freedom and peace breaking out in unlikely places. The miracle of this new spirit is that it is not world leaders that have initiated changes, it is ordinary people themselves who have pressured their leaders to adapt and change their policies. Like so many drops of water, individuals have come together to cause a tide that has breached the Berlin Wall, melted the Russian bear, and released political prisoners like Nelson Mandela. Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace is achieved through active cooperation for the benefit of all. Everyone has the opportunity to be a peacemaker.” Desmond Tutu (1990)
Tutu’s words seem to ring true for 2012 as they did in 1990. And he is right. It is individuals like you and me that can and will make peace happen.