Becoming a Peacemaker requires us to make fundamental changes in how we comprehend the world. Only when we actually begin to consider Peacemaking as a way of life, do we realize how much work it is. Not to be discouraging, but let’s be realistic.
Because our conflict torn world has taught us to think of Peace as pie in the sky, we think of it as magic. Magic that we see, not that we do. Because anyone who does magic can tell you that magic is very hard work. It requires one to master many small steps that then must be folded into one smooth action. Wow! “Presto Change-o!” The Magician says that, but they know that they’ve performed steps A-Z to get there.
Peace entails mastering the small steps which then tumble into a gorgeous pathway. We are impatient about mastering the beginning steps and instead want to start with a major accomplishment, “Presto!” Peacemaking is the sum of all the small steps that only in retrospect look like a complete shift.
As a Peacemaker myself, I find it easy to underestimate the delicate complexity of making Peace. It is a matter of building connections and forging new ways of doing things. Often small communities of Peace are begun and then we must figure out how to invite those small groups to join forces or at the very least walk alongside. It is magical when someone places their hand in mine. But that’s when the difficulties start. Making Peace, making Magic is a lot like falling in Love. The endorphins in the beginning are unbelievable. But then, if Love is to last, you need to begin the work of opening, invitation, and compromise. All of these steps in relationship, like all of the small steps in performing a magic trick, are best when they become automatic and invisible. But to those of us who are doing magic, building relationships, or making Peace, the small steps move from jerky adding of one step to the next into the fluidity of a dance. Once it becomes a dance, more people can be invited to join. And that, my friends, is Peacemaking.
My friend Pat posted this from John Perricone on her FB page:
“Several years ago, I invited a Buddhist monk to speak to my senior elective class, and quite interestingly, as he entered the room, he didn’t say a word (that caught everyone’s attention). He just walked to the board and wrote this: “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom do the dishes.” We all laughed. But then he went on to say this to my students.
Statistically, it’s highly unlikely that any of you will ever have the opportunity to run into a burning orphanage to save an infant — but the smallest gesture of kindness: a warm smile, holding the door for the person behind you, shoveling the drive for the elderly person next door — you have committed an act of immeasurable profundity, because to each of us, our life is our universe.”
Peacemaking is practicing the small steps, one at a time until we become better at them. Once you become more confident in your Peacemaking abilities, slowly, invite others to join you. Not only would the dishes get done, the driveways be less icy, but our hearts would open. Let me hold that door for you and help you on the path to Peacemaking in 2023.Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.