Peace Like a River
“Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.”
There's an old spiritual called “Peace Like a River,” that goes, “I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river in my soul...” Sitting on the banks of Lake Martin in the early morning light, with only the quiet sounds of water lapping, an occasional fish leap and splash, and birds fussing around the feeders, it's easy to have peace like a river in my soul. If I stayed here all the time, I could begin to believe that everyone is so lucky, so fortunate as to have access to beautiful surroundings, bird song, and peace in their souls. All the battles for gun control, all the devastation of perfectly innocent people being shot dead and blown up in airports and clubs, would seem like so much TV drama. All the calls to war and jihad could be controlled by simply turning off the laptop, and sitting on the dock with an ice cold beverage. Why aren't we all bobbing on the warm waters of this river of peace?
Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Understanding begins with us; with the small percentage of folks who sit comfortably and think peaceful thoughts. We're here through achievement, certainly, but also because doors have been opened to us, barriers have been removed, and we have been welcomed to the halls of equality. We can easily convince ourselves that those same doors are open to everyone, that there are no barriers to achievement except the ones we erect ourselves. Sitting here on this quiet lake, it seems true enough. It's tempting to stay put, and let all that furor evaporate like the mist hanging just above the water.
But lasting peace comes from creating that space for all people to achieve, and to contribute the best of themselves to the world. Until we-the-comfortable understand that, until we open those doors, and remove those barriers, peace will be fleeting at best, and war and jihad will be our reality. Today, my wish for you is to have peace like a river in your soul.
In the Spirit,