As I lie in bed this morning, I have one of those moments people yearn, struggle, strive, wish, hope and dream of — a perfect moment. A perfectly peaceful moment. It’s early, but not too early. I have time to relax. No pressures to get up or try — hopelessly — to grab just a little more sleep. Even the amount of morning light is perfect. A dove gently warbles outside my window, and…
I am perfectly at peace. I didn’t have to work for this moment or schedule it into my day. It just happened. Normally, on a Saturday morning, my mind is racing a million miles a minute stressing about, well, everything. I suspect it’s a paradoxical reaction to a group I host called Happiness Hangouts where I’ll get the catharsis of sharing some of my worries. But not this morning. This morning, my mind is still.
My bed is so comfortable, my comforter snuggling me into the mattress like it wants me to stay (and believe me, I want to stay). The temperature is perfect, warm under the covers but cool, crisp air filling my lungs.
Peace. My mind goes back to the dove. Their call has always seemed so gentle, almost loving. No wonder they’re the bird of peace. I’m no longer religious, but on an Easter weekend it’s perfectly natural for my mind to consider: I live in exactly the same desert climate as Biblical settings. Here, just as in Jerusalem, we live among doves, olive trees and sand. No wonder they’re prevalent themes in the Bible.
Again, while not religious, I think of the themes in the Bible, religion, and history in general. One of the most common, most powerful themes is the search for peace. And here I am, having a completely beautiful, peaceful, perfect moment. It rarely happens that I have this kind of moment without creating space for it in my day. I feel a little spoiled right now, but as soon as my mind thinks that, I realize one, very important, very powerful reality:
I deserve peace.
We all do. But peace can be one of the most fleeting things in our world. Not only are we bombarded on all sides by bad news, calamity, noise and demands on our time and attention. As the Bible would say, “wars and rumors of wars.” You see, even if we aren’t at war, part of our nature is to worry about it, prepare for it, obsess about it. “War” isn’t just the battles we fight with guns and technology, either. We battle daily for our health and well-being at work, at home, on the road, on the phone, on social media, at the voting booth.
We’re constantly at war with each other. Primarily because we’re at war with ourselves. Our own mind mirrors the struggles of the world. We battle to like or love ourselves. We battle to make something of ourselves and feel like we matter. We battle with a litany of obligations and conflicting paradigms we can’t seem to reconcile. When it comes down to it, the reason we battle each other is because we’re battling internally and taking it out on each other rather than resolving our own inner conflicts.
We deserve peace.
We forget this simple truth, that we deserve peace. The dove outside is joined by its companion. Doves are such gentle, affectionate creatures. I love nature even more than I love history, so I observe doves quite a lot. Partly because it fascinates me that they were chosen as a worldwide symbol of peace. Why?
They live simply. They need very little. Twigs for a nest. Food and water. Shade during the summer. And each other. Very simple needs. Their bird song is also incredibly relaxing and peaceful. It’s a simple warble that seems to sing, “All is well.” Isn’t that something we all want to feel: All is well. And what do doves do most of their day? They mostly just fly around being peaceful little creatures. They don’t pick fights. They don’t sit around wondering how many Likes they got on social media. They peacefully flit about, lighting the world with their little song, “All is well.”
If we boiled it down, our needs are as simple as a dove’s. What do we really need in life? Food and water. Shelter. And each other. We need each others’ companionship and kindness. We need each other’s support and encouragement. We need each others’ patience and compassion. Some might argue that we don’t strictly “need” each other, but I look past the doves’ peaceful warble and see all is not well.
The corona pandemic has turned the world sideways. Political games and corporate greed have turned the world upside down. The environment is at the brink of an alarming precipice. The reports of plant and animal decimation by humans is so far beyond comprehension that it’s difficult to even try. The general outlook for the world seems hopeless. Wars and rumors of wars. It feels like we are at each other’s throats on a global scale.
Have we found peace yet?
The settings of today seem remarkably the same as in Biblical times. All throughout history, really. Thousands upon thousands of years of people seeking peace amidst human-made calamity and strife. Many people turn to their religious books in hopes of finding peace. These religious scrips have been around for millennia so I have to wonder, Have we found peace yet? No? Why not?
Do we really need calamity and strife? Not remotely. Food, water, shelter, and each other. With today’s technology, we are far beyond struggling to meet our physical needs. Let’s take a brief detour and question the purpose of life for a moment. Is the true purpose of life to spend it worrying and warring against our own thoughts and against each other? No.
The purpose of life
The purpose of life is to celebrate every single, precious moment for the gift it is. If the purpose of life is to celebrate life, explore life, to reach for our greatest potential both individually and as a human family… If the purpose of life is to love it with everything we’ve got, then we do need each other. Now, more than ever. Let’s face it, to truly thrive in this life, we need peace. We need love. And we need each other to do it.
We need each other to remember just how precious and rare life is. We need each other to stop wasting life, to stop wasting time and to treasure them instead. We need each other to be kinder. Gentler. We need each other’s compassion and patience. We need each other’s forgiveness and gratitude. We need each other to listen more and talk less. We need each other to start hearing, really hearing what others are saying.
We need each other to work together for the common goal of peace. We truly have the ability to create a world where we all wake up each morning to perfect, peaceful moments. These are not just Utopian daydreams. We have the capacity. We have the technology, intelligence, creativity, ingenuity. We even have the knowledge and desire. We literally have the ability to make the world safe for each other. We are more than capable of turning this world into a burgeoning paradise full of peace and plenty — for all.
It is a brave thing to turn to Holy Writ seeking personal peace and love from God. But it is time for us to be even braver and turn to each other for peace and love. The purpose of life is to celebrate it, and to make the world better for each other. This requires that we, ourselves, be the source of peace and love, and this starts by accepting, believing and operating under a single, important idea; the idea that:
You deserve peace
You deserve peace.
I deserve peace.
We all deserve peace.
Life is what WE make it. Let’s make peace humanity’s birthright. Let’s follow the example of the bird of peace, and return to a simpler way of life. Let’s stop scrambling and scraping along the Earth for a buck. Let’s learn to share, instead. Let’s stop warring in our thoughts and emotions and be at peace within. Let’s stop warring against each other and create peace for each other. Let us open our eyes and open our hearts and remember that we are in this world together. Making war or making peace is a decision we all must make.
We need to start reminding each other that all can be well. We need to make ourselves well again. We need to help each other be well. We need to work together to make this wonderful, beautiful, miraculous planet well again.
So please, make peace for yourself. Make peace for those around you. Make peace for the animals, and plants, and our blessed Mother Earth. They deserve peace just as much as we do. We don’t just deserve peace, we need it. Today.
So let’s make peace together, and say, “All is well.”
Photo credit: @tjholowaychuk on Unsplash