Ever imagined a world without conflict, division, war, hatred and strife – where peace, tranquility and harmony reign over every heart and soul? Utopian fantasy, some would say!
Rightly so, considering the quantum of chaos and discord all around – deep inside the mind, in the family, at the workplace, in social structures and in the world at large – peace seems to be as elusive as the silver lining beneath the dark cumulo-nimbus clouds that augurs hope but then slips into oblivion.
A world that was groaning and moaning in the aftermath of two World Wars has been spared of a third one till date, thanks to the astute role of the United Nations which deserves a fair share of credit for achieving the purpose of its inception to a great extent. However, the world has not been completely rid of wars and conflicts. We still have heart wrenching graphic images and stories of strife-torn countries, broken families and lost lives.
What we need to understand is that as long as there are disparities and divisions, there will be conflict. And, such credentials will continue to be companions of the world as long as it exists.
Taking an example, close to home – think of sibling rivalry. Why does it happen? It happens when one child ‘perceives’ his/ her sibling/s as being loved or attended to more than self. In case such a perception is real, the rivalry stays on along the years and continues into adulthood and may be the cause of deep-rooted enmity between/ among siblings. If such a perception is faulty, then parental intervention helps dissipate the apprehension and restore peace.
This is true for every other spectrum and all relationships that we can think of.
Ronald Reagan said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
So then, if differences create strife and differences cannot be completely gotten rid of, can peace be ever attained?
Peace is an internal construct. It is not an external construct that needs to be attained by certain means. We cannot attain peace by doing or not doing certain things. It is purely a gift of the Spirit of God to man. But, our actions sure play important parts in helping to retain or renounce peace in our lives and in that of others.
The story is told of a man who was in the quest of peace. He quit his job and started on his hunt for peace. Each morning he left home and wandered far and near to catch hold of peace which he could then spread everywhere. But, each evening he returned home disillusioned and got into drunken brawls with his wife. The rapidly depleting resources soon brought them to a point of mounting debts and starvation until one day the young wife, moments before breathing her last sighed, “Ah! Peace at last!” But before she could explain what this peace was, to her husband, she drifted off into the other world, leaving him alone to continue his quest for peace.
And so go on the stories of many men who wander off to attain peace and in the process drift even farther from it, while all the time it is very much within them.
With conflict continuing to reign massively in the world, each one of us can be peacemakers in the roles that we play. But, so as to be peacemakers we must first have peace within us. Without our own internal peace, all our efforts in peace-making no matter how sincere they may seem, would end up being fruitless. Peace within, would create the desire to see peace restored everywhere.
Calming down heated arguments and signing peace pledges may give us the satisfaction of playing significant roles in restoring peace, but these are simple indications of the soul within that has been designed for retaining and yearning for peace.
More than being a virtuous act, it is indeed a blessing to be a peacemaker. The Bible says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Even as we strive to be peacemakers, let us first receive the gift of peace from God.