What does peace look like?
How can we find peace in the midst of a global pandemic while dealing with centuries of racial injustice? Our problems seem overwhelming. At times, there is so much darkness that it's hard to see the light.
Focusing on our problems, we can become obsessed by the drama on the daily news, which makes us even more stressed, anxious, and despondent. In a democracy, journalists perform a vital public service, pointing out problems we need to address. Yet, if we remain fixated on our problems, it's hard to find solutions. To create a more just and peaceful world, we need not only to acknowledge the darkness but to look towards the light, creating a vision of hope and aspiration. What does peace look like? Sometimes we need a symbol to remind us.
In the late 1930s, a French botanist developed a new hybrid tea rose with petals of golden ivory tinged with pink. As World War II began, samples of this rose were sent to growers in Europe and America. Robert Pyle, a Quaker in Philadelphia, grew the American sample. Under his care, the rose bloomed and flourished. He named it "Peace" and introduced it at the Pacific Rose Society Exhibition in Pasadena, California on April 29th, 1945. That same day, the war in Europe ended and Peace became one of the best-loved roses of all time.
Peace. Like my friend Judy Nadler, I've been growing peace roses in my garden as symbols of hope. These beautiful roses appeared at the end of a war that had brought Nazi death camps, devastation, pain, and suffering to millions. Their radiant blossoms are a daily reminder for me to pause and look for peace within and around me.
If you've been saddened, anxious, and distressed by all the pain and suffering from Covid-19, racist oppression, and economic deprivation, you're not alone. These problems are real. And yet, by summoning up a vision of hope, we can look toward the light, asking ourselves: What would peace look like in this situation? What do I want to see in its place? What kind of world can we create with greater compassion and understanding? What small step can I take to create more peace in our world today?
Your vision of peace can become a guiding star to light your way. Taking one step at a time, you can follow the light, sharing your vision with others, cultivating greater peace in our time, creating new hope and possibilities for our world.