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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost. (Erol Ozan)

 

 

The directional app on my phone

remains mute, while the road twists

and my mind twists with it 

into places where I am lost, again.

 

Memories explode bully-style inside

my brain synapses, creating panic.

No sound, but an arrow on my screen says

turn left at the next corner. I remember

 

the shop with the worn yellow sign.

And space in my head and heart opens.

I know to move through uncertainty.

Celebrate my detours. Consider

 

the possibility that others hide pain

behind strange, sour, surly behavior.

May peace be made from pieces,

one imperfect turn at a time.

 

published in For a Better World 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

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separated smilesThe way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. (Dolly Parton)

“Put a smile on your face.” A quote. Made by almost any parent. Well-meant perhaps, but misleading. First, the smile needs to be placed in the heart. It isn’t an accessory, like a hat or sweater.

As a teenager, I recall fussing about my thin, flyaway hair. I tried to make it look like someone else’s.

“Pretty is as pretty does,” my mother said with a face that stated, “And you are not pretty in appearance or deed.” That notion could have been restated. “This may seem important to you now. I can show you a better way.” I am glad I eventually discovered a new mirror.

The illustration pictures separated smiles. Without the rest of the person, they appear strange. The completed faces that belong to these mouths, have blessed me. One belongs to my sister. Another to my daughter-in-law. The baby’s grin belongs to my growing, youngest grandchild.

Sure, I’ll put on a smile. A smile that comes from the heart and soul. Not to a command. Sadness is real. It doesn’t need to be fed, but it does need to run its course.

Perhaps joy may take some time. Like waiting through a pandemic. Like hours of labor before birth. Like the negative space that gives lace and art its beauty.

The picture is metaphorical. I have heard all three of the voices attached to these lips, felt their presence, even if that physical touch was distant. These voices speak love.

The past can’t be changed. I offer my mother no advice. However, I have plenty to tell me. I don’t advise someone else about how to feel. I do tell them they have value, then give them space to discover it for themselves.

 

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Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in steering others. (Jacob M. Braude)

I have no idea how much my husband and I spent trying to save the blue spruce in our front yard. A service came regularly with botanical anti-fungal treatment until the cost of the treatment could have paid for the creation of a national park.

Needles turned brown and fell from branch to branch to ground. Huge gaps appeared as limbs died and were severed. The birds no longer had a place to hide and send out their morning songs.

The tree couldn’t maintain its status anymore. The sapling had been planted for our first son. He is now an adult, married with two daughters. The spruce had become part of our home and its past. Part of our sons’ history.

When asked which house we lived in, the answer came easily. “The one with the tree that is the front yard.”

I can’t control the life of a tree, the decisions of another person, or the whims of Mother Nature. Directing me is difficult enough. What I desire for the whole doesn’t happen by wishing, demanding, or sacrificing more than this old body has.

Hatred. Prejudice. The notion of us versus them. If only I could uproot these creature killers. Tear up the roots. Open eyes to see hearts, not superficial differences.

Peace. Planted one kind seed at a time. Without judgment. I pray that I can say to the angry, No, I don’t believe some people are better than others. But, since you also happen to be human, you are deserving of love. Now.

No, I can’t forgive with ease. Not yet. Still working on it.

Trees don’t reappear from stumps. Nevertheless, fresh planting creates possibilities. May good-will seeds create hope.

 

 

 

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Experience teaches us only one thing at a time—and hardly that, in my case. (Mark Twain)

Wow! I see individual leaves on the trees. A male and female goldfinch at the birdfeeder. Sky, blue with white slivered memories of larger clouds. All seen through dark sunglasses. The world no longer appears wrapped in fuzz.

Not to my cataract-free eyes. My brain remains as scrambled as ever. How many places have my thoughts run as I drive a few miles along a familiar route? Past politics. Into man’s inhumanity to man. Through global warming. My stomach considers lunch and dinner preparations—I should have stopped for breakfast.

There’s a speed indicator on a pole. How long has that been here? I pass this way often enough to drive it blindfolded. Okay, almost. The number on my speedometer drops. Into a one-thing-at-a-time ordinary pace.

Ugliness remains. I look at it differently. I can be peace by joining others who live love. By not giving up. My cataract-free eyes have sight yet can continue to seek vision. Wisdom, it is earned. Never an automatic right.

 

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If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

If peace were a bird, it would fly through heat or wind.

It would thrive in a nest open to storm.

 

If peace were a mountain,

it would stand patient,

constant, firm for centuries.

 

If peace were a tree, it would begin

as an acorn, unafraid of darkness,

then grow to house birds,

and reach for mountains.

 

Peace. It transcends

mountain borders,

and allows foreign bird species

to nest together.

 despite unseen possibilities.

 

originally published in For a Better World

 

 

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The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. (Abraham Lincoln)

My grandson and I raked leaves last week—not long after an ice storm. Not only did he want to help, he was eager to do it. We acted as if we were an equal team.

One problem. My back is a lot older than his is. He provided the strength and flexibility of an active seven-year-old. My strength gave out within the lifespan of a mayfly. Twenty-four hours later I could barely move. May steroids and physical therapy repair the damage. Eventually.

Sometimes I feel that my eagerness to combat human injustice is too much for a team of human creatures with integrity. The word, lie, has been shouted and repeated through the air until it has become useless. Set up sides! Prepare labels! Never discuss. Never listen. Have accusations ready whether they apply or not. Divide without thinking about the division.

And yet, I have friends who disagree with my political views. They participate in humanitarian programs. Is there any chance we can begin here? Can we agree to care that law is made for the population, not population for the law.

Maybe, just maybe.

 

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Try to see things differently – It’s the only way to get a clearer perspective on the world and on your life. (Neal Shusterman)

Laundry waits inside a plastic, easily opened hamper. If it were viewed by the privileged, it would be dismissed, seen as mundane, too common to be noticed.

If it were given to a group with nothing, the people would open the lid and stare inside. They would gather and empty the contents. Find a use for every fiber.

It belongs to me. I take it for granted. Wash and dry. Watch the time as if I owned each minute.

Friends and I talk. I listen. We see life differently. Together, we cleanse one another’s thinking. Peace, please.

 

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arthritisDifficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. (William Ellery Channing)

Be nice. Nice. Nice. The teachings of my childhood. Begin with following all rules with a smile and… I don’t remember what came after the and.

Since I happened to be a girl who grew up in the middle of the twentieth century, options were limited. Rarely mentioned. Mom, teacher, nurse. The arts? Forget it. Not practical. Difficulties during those days needed to be faced with stoic silence.

The result—any pain, sorrow, even joys I felt that weren’t shared by my family seemed bizarre, disconnected with anyone else. I see life differently since I learned the world’s inhabitants have as many similarities as differences.

Empathy is a gift. A celebration of shared humanity.

When people, or groups of people, mock mass deaths for political motives I cringe. Conflict? Inevitable. I’ve shared meals, laughs, celebrations with some of the mockers.

Growth in compassion seems as likely as studying the brain through decapitation. And yet, using a less graphic image, grapes and roses grow after deep pruning.

Do I back down? No. That’s the advice of early childhood, the place where I got lost. Instead I follow the advice of my arthritic hands. They throb.

Mother nature has been sending enough rain to flood rivers and streams to overload the land. Pestering my aching joints with action is the way to be nice, nice, nice to them.

I pray for more people to listen to the survivors of injustices. May the listeners place themselves in similar unjust circumstances, without rushing to judgments.

May the survivors recognize they are not alone. May I somehow not sever all connections with the people I see as creating harm.

An impossible request? Maybe. A-step-up-to-unlikely would be worth the effort. In the meantime, I sharpen empathy by choosing awareness in close-by places.

The man behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store has three items. I have at least thirty. He can go ahead of me. My tired mate who needs a nap doesn’t need to be awakened by the vacuum cleaner. And, I have a friend or two who could use a phone call this evening.

Maybe the larger world is no closer to repair, but my smaller realm has been blessed.

 

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screened vision

(screened vision, black and white, not easily read and slightly off-center)

The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame. (Rod Steiger)

Even if I had the X-ray vision of the Superman I watched long before flat-screened TV and Netflix, I doubt I could understand human motivation. Friendships with the folk who share a similar sense of empathy, are easy. Those who can’t see a relationship between weapons and death, are difficult for me to figure out.

Someone I know tells a story about direct experience with an individual wielding a gun—at her. No pause for recognition of her experience, the person she tells continues with a statistics-game. No awareness of the damage done by violence.

Yet, this man is worthwhile, genuine in what he does. I have no intention of turning away from him. Argument proves nothing.

A photo taken through a screen isn’t the same as a picture taken in the cold and ice—as it develops. The picture isn’t the same as the photographed space.

Life continues without a set pattern. I need to be who I am, speak my own truth and respect the truth of another. Sometimes this respect is as difficult as seeing through two separate screens, made of vastly different experiences.

Peace. Five letters, each one separated by centuries of misunderstanding. Nevertheless, an essential goal. For all.

 

 

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Peace isInspiration does exist, but it must find you working. (Pablo Picasso.)

Editing a manuscript can be like searching through garbage for lost tarnished silverware. Before the utensils pass inspection, they need to lose some crud. A shine may or may not happen after vigorous polishing.

Living real life is far more difficult. Its garbage never goes away. Peaceful existence demands a less judgmental approach. And—the work is never completed.

Sometimes persons who seemed to be so perfect, flub, big time. A friend disappears when needed. Or worse, dies. The evening news brings more continued discord than it brings news.

And yet, mother nature, world history, and current politics never promised to be fair.

I’m glad I can find inspiration in the love real life allows. Sometimes in the simplest ways. A day with a six-year-old grandchild. An unexpected phone call or thank-you card. A well-timed compliment. A new friend.

Inspiration exists, but it needs more than published-word acknowledgment. Thanks to all for your smiles, in person or via cyberspace. Sent to me, sure. However, any gift offered without expectation, is richer than any polished silver or word. Pass it on…

Peace.

 

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