Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Piece of Peace

Spectators at the Parade by Norman Rockwell

"I want a little piece of peace."

People go lots of places in search of peace: a mountain top, a bubble bath, a voting booth, a garden, a museum, a convent. We all long for peace, but few of us have much enthusiasm for doing what actually creates it. Peace isn't like an unexpected rain shower; it is achieved deliberately. And luckily we don't have to wait for the whole world to be at peace to live in a peaceful world.

As a new bride I decided to create a home where our family could retreat from the tension and conflict of daily life. I had some great ideas of what this peaceful haven would be like. Interestingly, Dee had different great ideas. We discussed, then debated, then argued.

A war happens when one side wants their own way more than they want peace, and I was willing to go to war—lay down my life, if need be—to prevail. Dee wanted peace. I wanted to win, but I actually wanted more than that; I wanted to be right. It took me a while to realize that I was the cause of tension and conflict even while I was trying to carry out my dream of peace. I didn't understand that peace involved more than agreeing on a Christmas tree or who should wash the dishes.

Peace is not just an absence of hostilities, it is a state of mind; a decision to be cheerful, understanding, kind, loving and lovable.

"Men who cry for peace sometimes look upon peace as something that may be picked as an apple from a tree, something that lies about within easy reach of humanity. If I pick an apple from a tree, I have first planted the tree, cared for it, watered it, brought it to maturity. Then in due time I may have the fruit.

"So with peace. It is not a thing by itself to be picked up casually, but it is the fruit of something sown.

"Peace can only be obtained by the use of a body of principles which, if obeyed, in time would give us peace. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. There is the way to peace."
---John A. Widtsoe

I love the Young Women's succinct list of Christ's teachings. When I apply them to myself, and remember they apply to others, the result is peace, in every circumstance.
  1. Faith (The Lord will bless me.)
  2. Divine Nature (I am a child of God.)
  3. Individual Worth (I have something worthwhile to contribute.)
  4. Knowledge (I must search for wisdom and truth, and learn from experience.)
  5. Choice and Accountability (I will take responsibility for my choices.)
  6. Good Works (I will serve others gladly.)
  7. Integrity (I will be honest in my dealings, and repent when I fall short.)
  8. Virtue (I will strive to be pure in my actions and thoughts.)
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work for it."

My marriage, my family, my home, my neighborhood: this is where I work for it. I want world peace, but I'm more likely to make a difference in my own little piece of the world.


Liz said...

I love the quotes and I love the message! I, too, try to create a peaceful home, but then the kids fight and I complain, and, and, and...
Thanks for reminding me that peace is something to be worked for....that it doesn't come easily.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed when I'm arguing with my kids, as soon as I decide to choose peace, I have peace. Even if the kid is still pressing me!

This is a good list of personal beliefs. Do you mind if I copy them for a class I teach?

Thank you, Pat (a lurker)

Travelin'Oma said...

This list of values is taken from a code of conduct in the Young Women's organization of the LDS church. If you email me, I'll make sure you get a copy of the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I just realized LDS means Mormons. Where have I been? I understand your church has lots of teaching materials but I'm afraid to ask any Mormons I know about your church for fear they'll think I want to convert. Is there a website where I can anonymously browse?

Travelin'Oma said...

Here's a link (I hope it shows up as a link on a comment). You can browse to your heart's content and nobody will ever know!

I wrote a post called I Believe which is on my sidebar, and there's also a link called Mormon Messages that has good utube presentations that are applicable to people of every faith.

Travelin'Oma said...

Sorry it didn't turn into a link. Either cut and paste, or go to

gab said...

Go Oma!