The initial filament fire for this post occurred at church when Father Tim proclaimed, “Let us offer each other a sign of peace.” Peace. It’s such a simple word, yet a profoundly elusive state. As I kissed her, I remember thinking, “I really want peace for her.” It’s all relative, I know. I lack the capacity to delve into the complex forces against world peace, so I’ll stay very local. We don’t live in Kandahar province, so our “peace” is unlikely to be shattered by the shrapnel of an IED, yet we’re constantly bombarded with conflict from work, family, friends, handymen, commuting, shopping, television, radio… life…and death. Our inner peace can even be invaded by our own thoughts of doubt, shame, guilt, insecurity, anger, the Yankees…
My good friend Michael signs all his emails, “peace.” It’s a nice valediction and so preferable to “Best.” Really? “Best?” What does that even mean? It seems insincere, cool and trite business-speak. “Peace” is so warm, like a hot chocolate with those little marshmallows, but you can’t really use it in business for fear the recipient would coldly think, “freakin’ hippie.” Speaking of hippies, I still remember reading a Sports Illustrated article around 1974 about Bill Walton and his 88 game winning streak UCLA Bruins. I was a Walton fan [Michael was “Wilkes” to my “Walton” as we thrashed different combinations of our brothers in 2 on 2 action at 67 Greenwood Avenue. Of course, we were in high-school and they were like 6th graders, but that’s not important right now…] and when the article ended with a description of big Bill “flashing the peace sign,” I was captured by the coolness.
OK, back to church where the coolness of circulating blades are 300 feet above the congregation… It always seems a little uncomfortable scanning the radius of your pew position for strangers to do the “peace be with you” drill. Are we just not comfortable with “peace?” Do we subconsciously believe uttering the word is somehow a sign of weakness? I’m sure Dick Cheney does. I knew this post was doomed when I pecked the five letter title… I guess like many things we desire in this life, “peace” is aspirational. I love John Lennon’s song, but every time I hear, “Give Peace a Chance,” I think… “nice song, but a pipedream in this world.” I guess the best we can do is “think globally, act locally,” and do all we can to bring peace to those close to us. Maybe that could get around.