As I am writing this, CBC news is in the background. Disturbing current events in Ferguson Missouri, Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza, Israel and Liberia all reinforce how elusive true peace can be.
I have been questioned why I listen if it disturbs me; however, for me being aware of the violence reminds me to be deeply grateful for peace. It is similar to needing to experience the dark so that I can better appreciate the light. It also motivates me to work for peace in my relationships and in my environment. I may not be able to bring about meaningful change in any of these distant situations but I can affect change/peace in the space I inhabit. I reflected on this as I was gardening today.
I have spent the summer wrestling with the weeds in my flower and vegetable gardens; weeds that had too much freedom in the past few years; weeds that never took Shirley Lynn’s workshops on boundaries.
As I am trying to create order I am becoming aware that not only have weeds overstepped their boundaries so have my flowering perennials. Historically, I have felt guilty for digging up and composting flowers so have either let them grow unchecked or have divided and re-homed them. However, I don’t struggle with the same guilt when it comes to those I deem as weeds. What I am realizing though is that my approach has not lead to creating a peaceful environment in which each plant has an equal opportunity to flourish and succeed … even in my gardens, the survival of the fittest is being played out!
To establish the peaceful order in the gardens I desire, I need to take corrective action. To have a greater chance of eliminating the invasive plants, I need to dig up the whole plant and get the entire root. If I don’t it will pop up again, maybe not this year, but it will come again.
Isn’t this how it works in relationships as well? If I am at odds with someone, if there is tension and I choose to either let it go or I half-heartedly try to fix it, the issue will pop up again. When I take corrective action in the gardens I do so with a goal in mind. I know what I am wanting to achieve and I think creating harmonious relationships works the same way.
I am reading I Am In Here by Elizabeth Bonker and Virginia Breen. (a mother and daughter). It’s about the journey of a child with autism who is nonverbal but communicates by using a letter-board. I will close with her comments and a poem she wrote as a nine year old:
“I do not believe violence is the answer to any conflict. People are different, but all people want to be treated fairly and shown respect. I believe war could be eliminated if people followed these rules.”
If we all try to get along the world would be a happy place.
Everyone could have their space.
War could disappear without a trace.
That is my wish.
And mine too. If we could truly understand what nine year old Elizabeth understood, the evening news might sound very different.
Submitted by Mary Martin