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Racine, WI 53405

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Keeping Our Center ~ Day 71

I understand the meaning of Memorial Day – to remember and grieve all those who have died in war for our country – but it feels like it has become a celebration of nationalism, a day for parades (ok, maybe not this year) and backyard barbecues. Grieving I understand. My heart aches for all the millions of young men and women who have lost their lives in battle, and for the millions more who have been physically and psychologically scarred because of the horrors they witnessed.

What I really wish for today is that it would be a day to cultivate peace, a day to build bridges, and a day to remember the sacredness of every person everywhere. How do we forget that God is not a U.S. citizen or a Christian? Jesus certainly wasn’t. Every country mourns their dead and wounded soldiers. And every healthy religion seeks peace – inner peace and peace between people. Every religion has their version of the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus says, “love your enemy” and “love others as I have loved you” and “turn the other cheek.” Jesus refused to resort to violence. We pass the peace at many Christian worship services, Jews greet each other with Shabbot Shalom (Sabbath Peace) and Muslims pray over and over with the word “salaam” (peace). Peace is the foundation of our spiritual lives and practices, why doesn’t it spill over into our world?

Our society right now appears to be hell-bent on creating or widening divides between people instead of finding ways to work together and care for one another. I’m so sick of the blaming and conspiracy theories around this pandemic. It simply serves to drive us further and further apart, to fuel anger and hatred. If the world would listen to each other and do what was best for the common good, perhaps we could come closer to achieving peace.

I know I’m preaching to the choir. But honestly, right now, my biggest challenge is finding peace within me when I hear about or talk with people who are screaming “hoax” and being cavalier about other people’s health. Yet, if peace doesn’t exist within each one of us, it will not exist around us.

Please, today, as we remember and mourn, may we seek peace in our hearts, our words, our actions… we only have control over ourselves, but we have to start somewhere. 

With peace and love,