Let Us Be Peace

One needn’t have an appreciation of the esoteric or a feeling for energy fields to perceive the palpable present anguish in the world. As I write, the war against Iraq is not a week old. Many of us have returned to the streets in protest; some have committed civil disobedience, trying to underscore our demand for peace and due process through diplomacy and UN resolutions. Waging peace is difficult work—tedious, time-consuming, sometimes frustrating. We often are not sure if our efforts have made even a slight difference, but the visual images of cities burning; soldiers wounded or dead; and civilians frightened, enraged, or casualties themselves compel us to do more.

Last month, Arden Buck’s article "What Do We Do Now?" addressed the very real question of how we keep ourselves going, despite the discouragement we feel as we see people harmed, global institutions and alliances damaged, and portions of cities destroyed. If you missed his piece, check it out on our website at www.friendsjournal.org/whatdowedo. I particularly appreciated his observation that by doing one’s work and staying in the present moment, one can move beyond despair to an appreciation of the long view that this, too, will pass. I also appreciate the insight that we are living into a new era—that global peace demonstrations and a global dialogue about the appropriateness of waging this war took place before it began. An international conversation unlike any before has begun. We may participate in this process by following the news and using the Internet; those of us who care deeply about peacemaking have an unprecedented opportunity to speak out and to have our words, if they are worthy, find circulation around the world.

A number of articles in this issue address concerns we can continue to tackle, even as the bombs are falling. In "Addressing Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels" (p. 6), Kim Carlyle and Sandra Lewis urge us to consider how our decisions at the market, the ignition key, and the light switch can lead us to a healthier, less conflicted world. Lee Thomas, in "The Relevance of Partnerships" (p. 9), points out many ways that good business practices can inform international relations. In "Harvest of Peace" (p. 12), Judy Wicks reminds us that, "When every meal we serve, every nail we hammer, every stitch we sew, every word we write, every seed we sow, every product we buy, contributes to the good of all—then we will reap the bountiful harvest of peace on Earth."

Many readers will remember that we published a speech given by Scott Simon shortly after the attack of September 11, 2001. His remarks prompted a vigorous discussion in our pages of the Peace Testimony. Many readers asked us to invite Scott Simon to respond to these letters. We did, and in this issue (p. 18) you will find his response to Friends as well as his thinking subsequent to his trip to Afghanistan.

My son Matthew has a Buddhist "singing bowl," the type used in Buddhist religious services. He loves the ringing tone set off by stroking it with a mallet or tapping it lightly on its rim. The sound is said to open the heart. As I go about my work here at Friends Journal, it is a comforting thought that that beautiful ringing tone echoing somewhere inside is a vibration that can extend through me to others. While the world is clamoring for us to focus our energies outward, perhaps the most important thing we may do is to go deep within, open our own hearts, and let them vibrate peace into the world. This would be a time not to underestimate the power of prayer. As so many meetinghouse signs proclaim: There is no way to peace, peace is the way.