blessed are the peacemakers

In light of all that took place at Virginia Tech today...I am completely overwhelmed, as I am sure many of us are, with complete disbelief. Sometimes I wonder how much time is left before the world erupts in nuclear war. How does all of this happen? How do we move beyond all of this violence and injustice? How is it that a single person carries him or herself into a place of such hatred and numbness? Last night I was up with Josh watching a show on PBS all about the war and the climate in Iraq, Afghanistan and places all over the world...and how terrorism is promised to grow and grow. Last Saturday, Josh got threatened at work...an upset coworker promised to kick his you know what. And today. At least 32 people have died and that number seems to rise every time I check the news. 32 lives! I can't stop thinking about how many peoples' worlds are turned upside down....how many people whose day was just a "normal" day...until all of this happened. One of the students who got shot was interviewed and said that all he could think about while this was going on was his mom. I remember when september 11th happened...I wanted to talk to my mom too. I wonder what or who the gunman was thinking about. I wonder what kind of war was going on in his heart. I wonder how humanity reaches these dark places. Times of war. School shootings. I can't help but think about my children through all of this. I can't help but be slightly stunned with imagining what might be taking place in the world when they are my age. I can't help but feel very, very small. In these moments...I always try to search out ways that I can make a difference. I always remember that story about the little kid throwing starfish back into the ocean. How do I create peace in a world of violence? How can I be a peace troubador? How can I raise my children to be peacemakers? I was in these thoughts today on my way to pick up Josh from work when a car made a quick left turn right in front of me from oncoming traffic. I tried to slam on my brakes and miss him but I hit his rear bumper. I was probably going about 40 mph. He just barely missed the drivers side of the car. He could have hit me, or Journey. Both of my babies were sleeping...they were both so peaceful. We pulled over and got out and he is extremely apologetic. I was upset.... I was relieved and I was so thankful that my babies were ok...that everyone was ok. I could have gone off on this guy. But I didn't. I just wanted peace. I asked him to please think of other people. I told him that I had two babies in the back of my car. I told him that I trusted him, his word and that I would be in contact about the damage (which by the way is practically nothing....just a tiny crack in the grill). I wanted to show him peace...he looked very burdened and sad. I just keep thinking about all of this. And, as I am sure it appears in my writing, I am still thinking...and it is all somewhat hazy. I just know that our own daily actions...the way we interact with others...the way we give love....the way we show compassion. These things matter. I want to raise compassionate beings. I want to be a compassionate being. I want to choose peace. I believe that practicing peace in my life will make a difference and on days like today I am reminded of how important it really is...and I am moved to be better committed to my ideals. It may not change religious fundamentalism and ideologies that come with it...it may not fill the emptiness of the people that have been wounded and driven to the extremes of hatred and abuse...it may not change the ways in which people misuse power through oppression and exploitation...but it does make a difference. It makes a difference to my family. It makes a difference in the way my children perceive the world. It makes a difference to that kid who turned left in front of me today. It makes a difference. And, in John Lennon's famous words "you may say that I'm a dreamer....but I'm not the only one"...people choosing peace are all around us. http://www.emissaryoflight.com/ and http://www.peaceisactive.com/ "Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity.Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger.Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew upon the soil of the human heart,and a fruit upon the tree of humility." peace unto you and your beloveds


Debbie said...

Jess, you once again made me cry and think. Your writing is wonderful for that. You do wonders for this world we live in. All great leaders of this world start off as children. You are raising children who are going to know what love, tenderness, appreciation and respect are all about. You lead by example. You leave a mark on all those who you meet. Think about the accident. (Man, am I glad that you and the kids are okay. I know what that feels like.) That driver will take with him your respect and kindness. He will one day pass that onto someone. Who knows the impact that one action will have on this world.

It is sometimes hard as a stay at home mom to see our impact on the world. There is not greater impact than raising children who understand life and love and can pass it on. I pray that your heart and soul have found some peace after the events yesterday. There is no way to predict what tomorrow may bring, we can cherish today and know we have done our best. That is why all our loved ones should know how we feel. Love you Jess, glad you are in my life! :)

Jme said...

I probably think about this almost every day. That's the "overthinker" in me, and I often hear the words in my head over and over "can't we all just get along??". What a tragic event this is ~ and such a waste of human life and potential. I love the title of this post - "blessed are the peacemakers". Can you imagine the life we could live if we all chose peace?! It has to start somewhere ~ let it begin with us. We always have a choice on how to react to our situations ~ let's choose the peaceful way. I almost got hit by a car yesterday ~ I thought "I can get really mad and make a scene, or I can be thankful my life didn't end, forgive her for not paying attention and continue walking." I chose the latter and it felt so much better!
I'm so glad you, Asher and Journey didn't get hurt in your accident. Things can happen so quickly. I'm all for making every minute count...peacefully! :)

Nonnie said...

I can't even comprehend what has happened. The dispair, anguish, and loss is unfathomable. How DOES someone get to this place. From the stories that are coming out about the shooter, perhaps if someone would have taken an interest in his indifference, he might not have resorted to this. We never know how far reaching kindness or caring goes.
I can't imagine being the families of those who have had their life cut so short, so soon, for what? I have thought of them all day.
There is something I remember from a training film at the credit union. It is called the ripple effect. You drop a pebble in the water, and watch the ripples start. As Debbie and Jamie both said, you START it and the ripples begin. It WILL be passed on. We never know how far these ripples go.

GG said...

The news of the past 2 days has been heart rending. I watch the news and films on TV and I weep with those who are weeping. I feel my heart convulsing when I try to hold back those tears and the pain is too great so I let the tears fall. But in all of this I find myself thinking over and over about the killer. Why was he such a loner; why did he hate rich people and the affluent. So far I have heard of only one person who tried to draw him out...a teacher of short story writing...his stories were so violent and warped that she was trying to tutor him away from the others in order to draw him out and show him that she cared. Was she the only one on that huge city-like campus. She did say that she had notified her superiors that this young man was in need of help and counseling but I never heard that he got it. And more importantly, I have not heard one word about his parents. I did see a clip of their house, in I think it was DC, and a neighbor saying "it is unimaginable that this has happened to my next door neighbors." But I wonder what his relationship was with his neighbors; did he really know them? And what about these parents. How did they end up with a 23 year old son who was apparently so lonely that killing was the only way he could get attention. I wonder about this and want to know the answer.

Jessie, I am so proud that the raising and the welfare of your children is always uppermost in your mind. You are always conscious of how everything you do might effect your children. That is a wonderful concern you have for their welfare.

But it is not just our own children who need this concern. We need to be cognizant of the needs of others. Two years ago my 8 year old neighbor boy was getting demerits every day in school and being expelled for days because of constant misbehavior. His parents did nothing to remedy the situation. I took him aside and we agreed every day after school to meet on my front porch and he would talk to me about the events at school that day. I set up a system of rewards for good behavior and we talked about his troubles at school and he confided his hurt that his parents did not care. Well, there have been two years pass since that time and he has never been expelled again nor has he received a single demerit. It was simply because he knew that I cared and took the time to let him know.

I wonder if anybody showed this young Korean man that they cared.

Yesterday I was in a car that was showing a young couple around from Mississippi. We were traveling through the Mexican area of Phoenix which incidentally is where I live too. The driver was making all kinds of disparaging remarks about Mexicans until I could not take it any longer and I spoke up and asked him why he continued to run down the Mexican race. I also let it be known that one of my granddaughters is married to one of the greatest young Mexican men in the world and I am looking forward to the day that I have a mixed race great grandchild because I know he or she will be somebody special. Last night my Mexican neighbor came over all upset because his wife had gone in the car to pick up their son from work and she got lost and ran out of gas. She only had to go to Double Tree and Scottsdale road but she was stranded at the Beeline and Shea. How she got there we will never understand because she can't explain it. I took him in my car and we got a can of gas to take along and made the trip and found her. He was so thankful and relieved and he said to me how grateful he was to me for helping him find his wife. I said "Don't thank me for what I did....you are my neighbor but more that that you are my friend." We all got back home at 11pm tired but happy and relieved that Isabel was home again safely with her family.

I think we need to get back to the old ways of neighborliness and friendship. Sure we are all busy but I believe if we could be more concerned about others and show an interest in the uninteresting and stop disparaging those of other cultures perhaps 33 people would not now be lying on slabs in a morgue somewhere in Virginia.


Jessamyn said...

Yes...love knows no boundaries.