When I was a child, I grew up knowing the song, Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me… Even now I can hear the tune continuing in the back of my head as I write this.
In recent days, I have been introducing my twin sons to the Winter Olympic Games. My late husband was a huge fan of the Olympics, both winter and summer. I have always been far more drawn to the ice and snow sports that he grew up with in Utah for the first part of his life.
Though the “Little Giants” have mainly been excited to watch the big jumps of the skiers, the beautiful and strong female skaters, and that “really cool laser show that one night”, we are still trying to help them understand the deeper spirit of the games and what they are meant to represent. Of the many underlying meanings, peace-making has been the key piece lingering at the forefront of my mind.
There is this common misconception in our world that peace is a lack of conflict. That two sides, or more sides, simply choose to give up their fights and embrace and everything is hunky dory. That the silence of acquiesce constitutes acceptance of a superficially contented reality.
My friends, that model of peace is a counterfeit knockoff created by confidence charlatans intent on maintaining whatever assumed and illicit foothold into power they have gained.
True peace is something else.
It is a wholeness. A completeness. A flourishing. It seeks the welfare, safety, and health of the other as much as one’s self. It requires the presence of equity. Of reconciliation. Of integrity. Of justice. It is about finding fullness – together.
The very best stories of the Olympics are of that caliber. Jesse Owens and Luz Long. Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino. Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi. And I know there are more.
My hope is that as we all continue to look in wonder at the incredible events unfolding in Beijing, praying for the safety of all the athletes and their support staff, we will not only look for those Olympic stories where true peace is being built, but also see where we can be making peace in our lives. True peace. Real wholeness. For those around us. So we can find our way forward.
Because peace really does begin with all of us…