Thursday, January 01, 2009

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Jill Jackson and Sy Miller

My favorite New Year’s hymn is “Let There be Peace on Earth”. It was sung every year at the church I attended as a child. I learned how to play it on the piano at an early age, and would sing it out, loud and strong, so that the whole world could hear (and tell me to be quiet because my voice wasn’t, well, pleasant to the ear, to say the least).

My favorite verse is “let it begin with me”. How can I let peace begin with me, little old me? Peace is harmony, freedom from conflict. God knows that we are all different, and we all don’t agree on the same things at the same time. He made each of us unique, with our own set of talents and gifts and knowledge. Our being has also been shaped by what has happened to us in the past – some we had no control over, some we chose. Being unique, we will not always agree.

Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek. Oh, how hard this is to do at times. Our tongues are like sharp daggers, wanting to hurt anything that threatens us. This is our natural response. To turn the other cheek takes so much effort and energy.

What I have learned: Pause and think before you respond – count to 10, to 60, to 1 million if you have to. If you personally attack someone's flaws - it does no good, it only hurts the other person. Anger shuts down communication, brings up defenses, and slows down productivity. And many feel terrible that they hurt someone afterwards, and have to make amends. Others try to justify that they were right, that somehow their feelings are more important than others. Getting out your feelings is good, but hurting others in the process is not. There are ways to get out your feelings without hurting others.

Things to take into consideration:

    Will it matter a year from now? Is it really worth fighting over? Is it petty?

    Am I expecting too much out of someone else? Am I using guilt to motivate someone to do something I think they should do? Do I want them to do something that I should be doing myself? Is it the end of the world if this action that I’m mad about doesn’t go my way?

    We all have different views and opinions on certain things. It’s okay. Sometime we have to agree just to disagree.

When the feelings are too intense, the hurt too heavy, the anger too passionate, silence is golden. Words on earth will do no good. Only words sent up high will carry any weight.

And sometimes, words should be said in a subtle way, a gentle way, maybe in writing. Right now, I am going through empty nest syndrome, and I’m not even a mother. The tears just keep coming. It’s the holiday season, and I feel so alone. But I know if I say anything, it will be taken wrong, excuses will be made, or I will look like the lecturer, again. So, instead, I decided to write about peace. My time to lecture is over. You are all grown. But I still want to share my knowledge and experiences, and more importantly, my laughter, life, and time. So, I give to you a prayer of peace throughout your life, and a hope that you pass it on to others.

And I ask God to give me peace, to accept the fact that I may never hold my own child in my arms, hear a sweet voice call me mom, pick up the phone Christmas morning to hear “Merry Christmas, mom”, and all the other wonderful things that so many moms experience. Yes, I could have had children, but, having the good Catholic upbringing I had, it was a choice I made, believing that a miracle would happen. It did in you.

So, I will live with the belief I’ve held dearly since I was a child “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Easy Recipe

Chipped Beef Dip

1 - 8 oz pkg Buddig Beef, chopped
2 - 8 oz Cream Cheese
1 bundle Green Onions, sliced

Soften cream cheese. Mix in other ingredients. Serve with crackers.

Time Saving Tip

Instead of folding over the edge of those rolls of big tape (so you can find the end), put a large paper clip on the end. You will save tape and time.

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