More water lilies at Longwood Gardens
Being peace begins with my relationship with God. Our God is a God of love and peace. Regularly meditating on God as love and peace fosters a sense of thankfulness and blessing. One of the biblical stories I frequently like to bring to mind is the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my Son the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:16). That voice from heaven is not only for Jesus but for each one of us. I’m God’s beloved daughter—God’s beloved son. God created me and is very pleased with me. Belief in God’s unconditional love for each person is powerfully transformative.
Our granddaughter Annie was so excited to go to kindergarten this year and could hardly go to sleep on the night before the first day of school. More recently, she started fretting about various things at school and didn’t always want to go. Her parents were getting a little worried. Then this week she got the student of the month award for her class. That affirmation has made a huge difference. She was excitedly telling her Grandma Zimmerman all about it on the phone and we now have a picture of Annie with her student of the month poster hanging on our refrigerator.
We all need an occasional student of the month award and an underlying sense that we’re cared for and loved. When the recognition that we’re loved is not there, we’re prone to become anxious, fearful, depressed, aggressive, angry, and even hateful. None of these emotions are necessarily inappropriate in response to some circumstances. Some things are quite worrisome and we rightly hate evil.
Reflecting on my involvement in the anti-war demonstration before the Iraq War, it was appropriate to get angry when our government was bent on going to war with fabricated evidence. Anger and hatred are valid emotions but we need to learn how to focus them in un-hurtful ways and then let them go. It takes a spiritually mature person to do that. It enables us to live serenely in a world in constant turmoil. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can to that. Violence cannot defeat violence. Only peace can do that.