Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dona Nobis Pacem: November 2007

I grew up in a family that follows Christian traditions. Though we weren't part of the vast Roman Catholic majority in the Philippines (we were members of the Anglican Communion), we followed several of the same rites and rituals: going to mass on Sundays and on major religious holidays, reading and talking about the Bible, etc., etc.

Since then I've distanced myself from organized religion. That doesn't mean I'm an atheist, though. I still believe there's a higher, all-knowing, ever-present and all-loving spiritual Being, perhaps even transcending spirituality as our mortal minds grasp the concept. Whether he (she? it?) is God, Oprah, Allah, Buddha, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I just don't know. But I believe, somehow.

But, there are several biblical concepts that have made their impression on me as I was growing up. Two of these come to mind today:

"My peace I leave with you, not as the world gives, give I to you."

and

"The peace of God that passes all understanding."

So maybe the concept of peace, as I've conceptualized it, is at the least, flawed and incomplete? When I wish for peace, I wish for the end of war, violence, poverty, hate. But guess what? Much greater people have prayed and wished for the same thing; but wars are still fought, violence is still committed on a daily basis, the numbers of the poor do not ever seem to decrease, people still go on hating. Has always been, still is now. Will it always be this way? We can't really say for sure, unless we possessed the same time-traveling powers that Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli (and Kenzei/Adam???? WTF?) do (sorry, couldn't help mentioning my beloved Heroes TV show).

I read somewhere that when you pray or wish for something, the answer can come in a way that you don't expect. If you pray for more patience, the powers that be don't resolve all your patience-trying situations in one go. No, you're given even more stressful situations for you to develop the virtue of patience. If you pray for health, maybe you'll be given a wake-up call to make you realize the options available to you?

And if you pray for peace...well. Maybe the adversities we face on a daily basis, or new ones that come crashing out of nowhere--however trivial or catastrophic they may seem--are portals to finding the peace that has always been there, deep inside us. Constant, unwavering, faithful, in the face of trials and tribulations.

Dona nobis pacem. Give us peace. Can we accept a peace that passes all understanding? A kind of peace that's so radically different from what we know or expect it to be? I just don't know. Maybe sometimes we don't have to understand. Maybe sometimes we don't need to analyze and nitpicket all the changes that occur and wail and beat our breasts and cry out "Why me?" Maybe sometimes we don't need to understand; perhaps all that's needed is just to accept, make peace within (especially within) and without (as much as we can), and move on. Maybe we can't change the whole world, but perhaps changing our own will have an impact, however imperceptible, on others'.

Thank you, Mimi Lenox, for gathering those of us who would express what we would about that elusive entity called Peace. The next piece of cheesecake I have will be in honor of you, my dear. (As well as the next piece of crap the universe sees fit to dump on my ebony-maned -- but with an increasing grey population -- head.)




33 comments:

Turnbaby said...

Ahh--so wonderful that my first Blogblast for Peace read is you Lizza.

I think the lesson of 'peace' is one we must all learn. And I agree that changing how we as individuals impact each other can in fact change the world for eah other.

good to see you sugar

Smooch

Photo Cache said...

ah, some post. i really like the way you present your subject/topic. wish i could write like that. hey, nice to see you. peace, dudette.

houseband00 said...

Bad things happen so that they can bring out the good, I think.

I just got to believe that.

Travis said...

I agree that each of us must find our own peace...in the things around us and within ourselves. I don't think of peace as an end game anymore, but rather as a journey with many different directions and choices.

Happy Peace Day.

Scott from Oregon said...

If you are praying for peace and thinking about peace, there is a good chance you are already across the great bridge that humans must cross in their minds to achieve peace.

The trouble is and always will be, that there are still those on the other side of the bridge who will attack us, do us harm, burn the bridge altogether.

DO you fight those who come from there or do you let yourself be governed by them?

Your main focus, instead of dwelling on prayers and wishful thinking, is to get as many people across that bridge as you possibly can.

Matt-Man said...

Great post as always Lizza. I hope that your increasingly grey maned head stays clear from too much crap. Cheers!!

H said...

Ebony maned. what a lovely image.

And what a charming world, with pouting red lips, and laugh lines.

Had so much to say... typed in a lot here. And then I realised it all sounds empty.

Christy said...

May peace be with you fellow blogger.

Bond said...

Searching for a Peaceful World...wonderful post my friend...

Sanni said...

Beautiful post, my friend! Thank you!

Today marks the first anniversary of Blogblast for Peace and the first anniversary of our friendship. Thank you so much, Liz!

Love and peace to you and your family!

Hahn at Home said...

Lovely post. Peace!~

Odat said...

Very powerful post...as usual.
Peace!

Mimi Lenox said...

I knew this would be a powerful post but I wasn't prepared for how it would move me. That Bible verse is my absolute favorite "Peace that passes understanding" and you expressed much of what I feel in this post. If I haven't said it before I'll say it again: You are an intellectually brilliant writer - and don't ever forget it.

Peace and love and hugs to you, my friend - one the first I ever had in the blogosphere. And our friend from India? He hasn't shown up yet but I know he is here in spirit.

Michael C said...

Well done. We all do need a lot more peace!!

Akelamalu said...

PEACE TO YOU AND YOURS

Tammie Jean said...

What a wonderful post, Lizza - beautifully written.

kyels said...

Wonderful post!

(:

aCey said...

what a beautiful entry! peace is something i'm also looking for...

Sidney said...

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. -Dalai Lama-

CS said...

I let this one pass me by, being in the idst of feling overhwlemed. But I emjoyed your take on it. We have to keep praying,wishing, working for peace. We have to.

Natalia said...

I have been an atheist all my life. Except I never really thought about what it was called. And it's an awesome thing to be. But I still think there are good passages in all religious books, philosophy-wise. I just don't buy into the invisible fatherly figure, etc.

-N

Anonymous said...

Nicely written post! As much as I want world peace, I understand working on inner peace should be my focus, from there it can radiate out and hopefully positively effect others.

operating agreement

Mimi Lenox said...

hmmm......Are you OK? We miss you.

it's the little things... said...

Where have you been my dear?

nursemyra said...

lizza I check in every day but it's "oh so quiet"

where are you sweetie?

Dan said...

Lizza, you haven't blogged in a while. Hope all is well! I came back. I'm addicted, what can I say. :)

Turnbaby said...

Just stopping by to see if my Reader was just not working.

Smooch

Gumby said...

a great post to read on a Sunday afternoon...

Travis said...

Just stopping by to say I miss your words.

Debo Blue said...

And I thought I was bad for not posting:-)

Tammie Jean said...

Just checking in on you...

it's the little things... said...

Has anyone heard anything? It's been nearly a month now, which is unusual for Lizza....

Kiyotoe said...

it's me.
looking for you.