March 7, 2014: ‘Let peace begin with me,’ by Sister Rosemary Foreman

March 7, 2014 by

web-030714-RosemaryForeman-MUGI have often wondered what it would be like to enjoy my morning coffee and read a newspaper that features positive headlines and is chockfull of uplifting, interesting and informative articles. Would it be boring, interesting or energizing? I believe it would be energizing.

Certainly it would be more energizing than the current columns filled with conflict, turmoil and divisiveness in hotspots around the world. There has never been a time in my adult life, including the tumultuous 1960s, when peace seemed so elusive.

We all know of the iconic peacemakers such as Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, to name a few. There are also many, many other lesser known active workers of peace.

But I suggest the real builders of peace are you and me, and that from us grows the effort for global peace. The powerful 1955 “anthem” by songwriters Jill Jackson and Sy Miller says as much: ”Let There Be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

For me, peace is built on relationships, one friendship at a time. We develop friends in a variety of ways — through work, church, friends in common, etc. While there normally is some commonality to attract us to one another, it would be unrealistic to expect two people to agree on all things. And I believe it is supposed to be that way. It allows us to accept the differences in each other — something I believe we must all do.

Friendships aren’t always a smooth road. Developing a strong friendship requires work, plus energy and patience. I know that if I expect someone to accept me and my beliefs, strengths and frailties, then I must be willing to acknowledge and accept them just as they are. It is critically important to remember that acceptance is not necessarily agreement. When I can listen to a friend with an open heart and share in return we can come to know and acknowledge our differences and learn from them. This is the beginning of understanding and accepting one another. When a relationship/friendship is built on honesty, trust and acceptance the rewards are great and contagious.

“Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be!”

— Sister Rosemary Foreman is a Sisters of St Joseph of Concordia who lives in Topeka.

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