It’s been so long since I’ve known the essence of peace. Peace becomes a more mercurial notion as we grow, and less accessible when we’re grown.
I remember peace as the fine sandy beach on a cloudless day. I also remember the final part of the day when I’d look in the mirror and see the red, sunburned shiny face that made me feel like I also glowed inside. Peace was the sound of the water, the waves, the children yelling to be heard over the others and the happiness of having nothing else on my mind. But peace does not exist on the lapping waters near Gaza.
Peace seems to have existed a long time ago. Since then, peace has been an obscure notion to the girl who grew up during the Vietnam era, watching people die on TV, long before they should have. Peace changed to pain when I loved a man who broke me into a million pieces and is still “spineless” after all these years. I lost all peace of mind when my husband became chronically ill before age fifty, and never fully recovered. I hold fast to the peace and kindness that my dearest friends offer, while illness abounds in my house.
But what I’ve learned about that peaceful, easy feeling in maturity is that it comes from within and on a moment to moment basis. Whatever crashes down on us as we live out each day has enormous, and hopefully a fleeting effect. But it always comes down to us when we decide how or when to suffer, or to feel free.
I’ve tried to “coach” our presidents through the wars, as I read about them on the Internet and watch our "top guns" deliver elegant speeches. I write to our senators and reps to tell them how I feel about our egregious taxes and monetary waste on warfare and I’ve given my all to my family and friends. But nothing other than what I deliver to those dear to me is going to stop the warmongers from creating bedlam. I don't have the personal weaponry.
I cannot change the way things happen, even though I once thought I could. I can only listen to the musicians who make me feel the importance of what they sing, the book writers whose truths become mine, and the people I know and love who try to make each day peaceful for me, to whatever extent they can.