By Corinne Wnek
There has been considerable debate recently about President Obama’s follow through on a pledge to bring our troops home from Iraq by the end of this year. Critics, however, argue that leaving a vulnerable country at this time sets the stage for a takeover by extremists that threaten peace in that region.
During the holiday season we hear more echoes and pleas for peace in songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth”. We are even told to “sleep in heavenly peace”. But is peace on Earth realistic? Or is it just a sentimental pipedream?
I think the answer depends on what our expectations are when we try to seek peace. The great leader of India, Mahatma Gandhi, told us that “We must become the change we want to see”. If that’s true, then each of us must start making peace in our own lives before we can expect global peace.
When we consider how hard it is to forgive someone who has disappointed or hurt us or we just can’t seem to let go of a long standing grudge, it becomes clearer just how difficult and elusive finding peace really is. How, then, do nations find peace when they carry thousands of years of animosity, distrust and prejudice against neighboring cultures? Who among them is courageous enough to be the first to become the change they say they want to see?
At this joyous and hopeful time of the year, we should look closely at ourselves first, if we really want to see peace on Earth. Maybe we can start by forgiving others more quickly and holding our tongues more frequently. Maybe we could try to get to know people who seem a little different from us so we could find out how much we both have in common. Maybe we can build more bridges in life by tearing down the walls we long ago put up.
The great St. Francis recognized this a very long time ago and so it is fitting that we recall his words on Christmas or whatever holiday is your tradition: “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!