I come to you today with so many thoughts whirling inside my very busy head. The graphic I chose to accompany this blog was an image from earlier times in our metropolitan area here in Saint Louis and was posted for a different reason. I find, however, that its core message, “May Peace Prevail”, may be the simplest and most direct way to share what is the highest priority in my heart and soul as I write to you now.
I wonder how many miles of text I could create if I began talking about everything that is “non-peace” directed today, October 5, 2016? I could mention just one word at the moment, “election”, and create miles and miles and miles of negativity with a mere copy and paste of the majority of content of opinions, media statements, current internet articles, many individual’s personal sharings via social media and even use quotes from recent conversations I have either listened to or attempted to participate in during the last 3 days of this current week. That is a lot of tension and negativity swirling among, within and around us my friends. And what does any of that negative energy accomplish? Most certainly NOT peace. I remember one gift Jesus made sure we knew he was going to pray we had after he left our physical world-that gift is peace.
In my younger days, I thought that was odd. We just played jump rope and tag and red-rover and did homework and watched TV-so what in the world about that life would require a needed gift of peace ? My younger self, and perhaps your younger self, did not worry about the need to “create” peace. It just was. Sure, there were the everyday scuffles of the growing up phases of life. For example, who is going to get to sit by the window in the car this trip out? She cheated and did not wait to take her turn in line and jumped ahead-unfair! Why didn’t I get picked to be homecoming queen? The mean boys are picking on that same sweet girl again! The world had, will and shall always be “troublesome” and perhaps my increasing age has much to do with my current perspective, yet I do know and remember a time of existence on this earth and in our world when shooting and shaming and guile and human degradation DID NOT fill a television screen or highway signs or newspapers and magazines or our visual input exposure images all day long. And the “work” of creating peace seemed not only probable but real. What are we doing to each other? And why? How far OFF the PEACE SCALE have we fallen? What will it take to shake us at our core to somehow come to a place of unity where peace is a desire in all hearts?
I am not sure one little blog can begin to address the enormity of that very big question. One little blog can, however, seed some thoughts and hope into both my garden and yours, dear reader. One little blog can propose a different path that is maybe not so new or different at all.
I read a piece this morning by Fr. Richard Rohr describing St. Francis of Assisi, the father and founder of Richard Rohr’s Franciscan community. Did you know that simple Francis talked to flowers and honored them with the same respect he did people? I did not know that until today. Flowers! Francis is best known for his love of all creatures great and small, particularly animals, but I was delighted to find out his love of creation meant love of everything–EVERY SINGLE THING! He loved even flowers! How many miles of text could I generate if I begin a gratitude listing of EVERY SINGLE THING that creation has put in my path in the last week, month, year, decade to honor all those things for how they have helped me as Francis did in his everyday living? And how different would the emotions and spirit that the grateful thinking and perspective produces be compared to the negativity energy lists of messages abundant currently? How much closer to PEACE PREVAILING could we get as a household, city, state, country if we started listing all the simple yet wonderful “things” of creation we see, touch, smell, hear or feel daily? Maybe we should attempt such a list?
I am grateful for:
- fingers to type this
- a keyboard to type on
- no pain in my hands or fingers as I type
- the batteries in both my mouse and my keyboard powering this process
- the computer screen I see my words appearing on
- the eyes that work that help me actually SEE the words I am typing
- the wireless connection that is powering the internet right now
- the health to be able to sit in a chair upright for an hour
- a healthy brain that generates words
- the English language that I am using to convey thought
- wordpress.com as a site to write such a blog
- the internet to spread this blog all over this place
- the food I ate to nourish my body to create my energy to think
I don’t know about the rest of you but I am noticing the list has the potential to create text for miles and miles and miles once it gets rolling…and how do I feel? Peace filled. Happy. Grateful. Calmed. Optimistic. Altered. Better.
St. Francis is “on” to something folks! You get back what you put out there. You see what you are looking for. You feel different when you look for the good. You treat yourself and others with more kindness when you are looking for EVERY SINGLE THING in every single moment that is contributing to helping you move forward to take another breath, sing a next song, read a second book, love the next person, cherish the newest memory.
I think I feel hope and more joy right now than I did when I began writing.
I certainly pray you do too.
What kind of “text miles” of content in conversation and action and interaction will you create today?