I will admit that I have been overwhelmed by the last week: the violence in too many cities, the posts on Facebook, the news, the terrible feeling in my gut that peace is at best, a distant ideal. I just feel sad. I can’t seem to find the words to respond. For someone who generally processes out loud, this is a strange and uncomfortable place to be.
I have long understood that this world is a mess. I contribute to it. I make mistakes everyday. I also want to heed the call to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2) I want to seek after justice and care for the widows and orphans all while turning the other cheek, but wow, it ain’t easy.
My spirits have been buoyed by a few incidents at The Dale. I have seen people vehemently disagree only to embrace and wish one another peace. I participated in ushering someone out of a drop-in (a rarity for us). Though I believed it necessary for the safety of the individual and our space I was very conflicted by it, only to experience the relief of having the same person return the following week peaceful and somewhat lucid, our relationship intact. Since suggesting that submitting to God might involve his being “less of a bonehead” a community member has spurred many of us on to consider how we can do the same.
These stories don’t help me make sense of the tragedies around the globe. They do help me consider what seeking peace looks like in my own context and how it might spill over into other regions. Giving peace a chance need not be a naive platitude. In my own experience making a choice for it is uncomfortable, exhausting and dirty work. Loving my neighbour as myself sounds easy until I think about the full ramifications of it.What cuts through the discomfort, fatigue and grime is how deeply good the work is. There is a courageousness to choosing peace.
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps 34:14)