Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let it Begin with Me

Peace.  Let peace begin with me.
We sing it in our churches.
We say it at our gatherings of like-minded friends.
We put the bumper stickers on our cars, the magnets on our refrigerators, and the symbol on our clothing.

All we are saying, after all, is give peace a chance.  In Palestine.  In Iraq.  In Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, Uganda, the Ivory Coast.  And, please Dear Creator of All that Breathes...let it begin with me. 

Ah, but who really knows where to begin?  Peace is so unwieldy and the world is so messy.  What does a well-resourced private citizen living in the middle of a gun loving, cowboy-minded, peacenik-disparaging state do?   Vote and call it a day?   Send an occasional letter to a congressperson?  Weep over war stats?

Mother Teresa said this:  Peace begins with a smile.

So I'd like to share a mission of peace my friend Jane has just returned from.  In Peru.  She went for business, but hooked up with an unlikely peace organization before she left - World Hoop Day.  The mission of World Hoop Day is this: to bring dance, exercise and toy hoops to under-privileged children living in extreme poverty and the underdeveloped neighborhoods of our world.

Hula hoops for peace?  It seems a bit ludicrous, I agree.  A month ago, when Jane asked a group of us to help her make the hoops she would be taking to Peru, we all signed up. But, I confess, I secretly scoffed.  Hula hoops?  Really?  Children of the world need food and shelter and education.  Not hula hoops.

But as Jane posted photos this week of her hula hoop distribution in one of Peru's poorest villages, I became a believer in the power of simple joy.  Take a look.

No, it's not a treaty signing or a cease fire or a water well or a school.  It's a box full of $10 hula hoops in one small village in Peru.

And a community full of smiles. 

Let there be peace on earth. It begins when we believe we have joy worth sharing.


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