Monday, March 15, 2021

Becoming Instruments of Peace

My brain has always been like a pinball machine—ideas bouncing from one pole of interest to another with irradiating lights announcing delight, joy, curiosity, knowledge, fact, possibility, gift, rosiness, success . . .  OR . . . worry, fear, concern, trepidation, desperation, disaster, mistake, failure, flaw—the 180° differences embedded in my psyche, personality, and philosophy! 

That pinball machine of a brain has led me to embrace many changes in life and to find peace and serenity as I’ve surrendered my need to always be in control or to be right or to be the ultimate judge and arbiter not only of my own choices and life, but also of the choices of others.

Pinballing has led, I believe, to my accepting differences while looking for ways to act in a way that will bring to others and to myself a quality of mercy that surpasses all understanding. Mine included. 

Of course, none of us can journey through life without the occasional failure to embrace a recognized universal good. We make mistakes; we fail in our commitments. We talk the talk, but don’t always walk the walk. 

That is to say, we are humans with human flaws and failings. But we can always recommit ourselves to serving human kind in the least obtrusive and destructive way. We can hold on to an empathy grounded in the truth that undergirds every major spiritual tradition: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

That is, in accepting ourselves with all our foibles and flaws, our darkness and our light, we pledge, we vow, we commit to accepting others. We may not accept their actions. In fact, we may find their actions reprehensible. Just as our actions may be reprehensible at times. But we accept that at the deep center of themselves, they are driven by some emotion that makes what they do seem right to them. 

We may not understand that emotion—what it is: fear, greed, pride, lust for power, antipathy, jealousy, envy, whatever. But we can try to begin to understand our own feelings . . . and those of others. We can try to search out and understand the experiences that prompt the actions of others.

Then we can try to create through our thoughts and actions a world that responds to the experiences that led to seemingly destructive actions—whether in ourselves or others.

Is there some perfect world of emotion? Some perfect world where are can live without fear? Some perfect world where power is seen as a source of doing good for all humans? 

I don’t know. I’m at the end of this posting, and I admit to not being smart enough to know how we can fill up the cup of others with life-giving waters as they . . . and possibly, we . . . wander through the desert of our own needs. 

If I were more philosophical or more well read or a deeper thinker or a more abstract thinker . . . if I were wiser . . . if, if, if. Then, perhaps, I could find the words that would be like a rain shower, washing all of us clean of our own arrogance, presumptiveness, pride, self-righteousness, or whatever it is that holds us back from being wholly human. From being holy humans, whose lives bless those of others.

So, I ask you, what is it that we can do to help all of us become, as Francis of Assisi said, “an instrument of peace.” That is, what actions will help us become the life-giving humans we are called to be. Called perhaps by the God in whom many believe. Or, called by our own inners selves that have known the thirst for wholeness. 

What is your response to the needs of our world today and to the great divide between so many of us? To the chasm that exists today in our culture? 


·      Francis of Assisi wrote a well-known prayer on how we can be instruments of peace. Click here if you’d like to read his words.

·      The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization I wholeheartedly support with monetary contributions when I can, succinctly says: “Fight hate; teach tolerance; seek justice.”


I wish you peace, pressed down and overflowing today and all days. 


PS: For those of you who would like to learn more about what’s happening with Elisa as she lives with cancer, here’s her blog URL. On it you will find her postings since 2011. The cancer postings go back to November 1, 2020.


Illustrations from Wikipedia.