The other day, my boys were discussing world peace, an unusually weighty topic for the two of them. “I wish there were no wars,” my 6-year-old lamented. “Yeah, me too,” the 9-year-old added. “Why do people have to fight?”
“You know, we could start by start practicing world peace at home.” I suggested.
The boys rolled their eyes and laughed: “Noooo!”
I think it is a beautiful idea.
Isn’t that the way it goes? We all want to change the world without having to undergo the work of transformation ourselves first.
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.” ~ Mother Teresa
Recently, these words from Mother Teresa hit me hard. I was sitting on a bench, watching my daughter ride away on a train-trip around an amusement park. As she left, my eyes fell on the two grandparents waiting on the bench across from me: “Beloved,” my heart whispered toward them. I watched a set of teenagers and almost-teenagers running to get in line for the big white roller coaster. “Beloved, beloved, beloved,” my heart whispered again. I watched the tired looking mom pushing a stroller, a tattooed dad walking by her side. “Beloved, beloved, beloved.” I don’t know what these people do. I don’t know what they are like. But I realize it doesn’t matter. They are beloved. Do they begin to grasp their Belovedness?
As I sat on that bench, I realized that I have a hard time seeing this Belovedness in those closest to me. This exercise or prayer, whichever it is, is harder to practice with my own family. Instead of seeing or feeling their Belovedness, I feel My love, my disappointment, my expectations, my needs-met or unmet. Maybe this is what Mother Teresa was talking about-why it can be easier to love the people far away.
What if my work for world peace actually starts here?
In my heart?
In my home?
In the way that I love my husband and my children and my neighbors?
What if it starts in the way that I teach my children about seeing people with open eyes and an open heart?
What if it starts by recognizing and welcoming my belovedness and recognizing, welcoming, and honoring the belovedness of my family and of every other person on this planet?
How do my actions affirm or deny that belovedness?
God, help me to love with your love. A love that knows all about the dark mingling with the light in my heart. A love that sees all of the coulds and tries and do-overs and just loves. A love that says: Enough. You are Enough. Help me to see the Enoughness of those closest to me. To see and welcome their Belovedness. Amen.
5 thoughts on “Practicing Peace”
Yes, amen. A good word. Thank you for sharing your heart!
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It can feel so much easier to love people far away…or at least my imagined version of them. So much harder sometimes to remember the belovedness of those whose messy humanness grates against my own in the day-to-day. Thanks for this reminder to pay attention to how I’m loving people.
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Thank you for being here, Johanna. I was just thinking today about how amazing it is to be beloved, not in the generic way that I can see the belovedness of those I don’t know, but in the deep-down way that God loves us. I sometimes have a hard time really believing it. I love this thought from Psalm 34: Those who open their hearts to the Beloved, are filled to overflowing!
A great reminder as we look at the world today and wonder how it got into such a mess. Each of us in our own little way can at least do SOMETHING to reduce the amount of anger, hatred or indifference simply by living Christ-like amongst the people around us today. Thanks for the reminder.
You are welcome, Mike. 🙂 Thank you.