Friday, January 9, 2009

The Door War

My husband and I can't paint a door without fighting. First there's the decision to paint/or not to paint the door. Is it a top priority? Should it be stripped and rebuilt or replaced? Do we have the time/the money/the right weather forecast? Then there's the color. Should it be the same? Something new? Will it match the rest of the house? Will the rest of the house be repainted sooner or later? Then there's the work. He does some. I criticize. I do some. He criticizes. And the disappointment we both feel when the project isn't going exactly the way one or both of us imagined gets stirred into the simmering goulash, too. How we manage to get through these things without throwing a gallon of latex enamel on one another is...well...probably a miracle. We throw plenty of colorful splashes of expletives and insults, that's for sure. So how can people like us imagine peace on Earth? How can we even purport to be lovers of peace and willing players in a movement to seek peace and pursue it? Where do people who sing heartfelt verses of "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me" get off behaving in such uncompromising ways over such minutiae? I am leaning into a very personal view of world peace this morning. My good-thinking pastor friend, Joe, has an op-ed column in today's edition of the Louisville Courrier-Journal in which he ponders some radical ideas for leading the world to disarmament. It's worth reading. Whether you agree with the ideas proposed or not, it's a good list to dream on with "what if" in front of every enumerated sentence. The eye-openers, of course, are in the maelstrom of comments the editorial has evoked. Here's my favorite: First things first, convince the over 100 million Muslim extremists to love everyone then come back after you have accomplished that. I am sure you will not be able to think very well when your head is separated from your body. Their sworn purpose is to kill the infidels and sorry to tell you but you are an infidel to them. Good luck with that beating weapons into plow shares thing, but please start over there. Well..that flies all over me. How dare the commenter assume all Muslims are extremists...how does that make him/her different from a Muslim who assumes all Christians are infidels? How emotionally low of him/her to conjure up an image of my friend without a head. How crass to drag a peace lover's favorite Bible verse (and promise of God) so mockingly into a sentence. How typically shortsighted of the commenter to insist peace should begin "over there." (And until then we should...what?) And then I remembered the ongoing jihad over the front door at my house. And the current terror in Southern Israel/Gaza. And the war in Iraq/Afghanistan. We people are people...whether the fight is over paint brush trails or holy land. When we say "let peace begin with me" it means the same thing, regardless of the context of the war... Peace begins when we forget our assumptions, and begin to listen to people we have believed we understand even though we've never asked them to explain. Peace begins when we stop using "always" and "never" and images of bodies without heads to make a point. Peace begins when we respect one another's holiness and wholeness. Peace begins when WE take the first step toward reconciliation...a step unconditionally motivated by a longing for absence of conflict. I have been a warmonger. I have been more concerned with my beliefs and personal investment and creative feelings about a front door than I have been concerned with comfort and joy in my little bitty corner of the world. How ridiculous is THAT? Let there be peace at my front door...let it begin with me. Then we take on the rest of the world - together. Peace.

1 comment:

gay said...

I have been to this front door. I would not have guessed it needed any reconditioning. Why? I know who is beyond the door, people who are intelligent, open minded, warm and care about people in lives and about the world around them. But I don't want to forget the point of this blog. Peace begins with individuals. "Let it continue with me."