Until We Know, Peace

There are a lot of fears right now. Few of them feel unjustified, but all of them are unknown…

I will stand firm on my beliefs and proudly beside those who are targeted, but I’m not ready to aimlessly gather to mull around until I know what’s really in the works.

What I will do, every day, is work for Peace. I will focus on neighborliness; on being a good friend. I will step up.

Yesterday, the Mosque 60 miles down the road, received one of “those” letters. It was a hate-filled, ignorant threat. If they organize a rally, I will go. In the meantime, I will stand with my neighbors here — and sit and have coffee, giggle over the silly things in life, pray about the horrors, and educate myself. That’s what I can do. That’s what Peace asks of us. That’s what Love asks of us. I continue to think that we need to learn to be the people who walk each other home.

Peace. Love. Understanding. Let us be those people.


A Land of Peace

It’s astonishing how beautiful this country is. It’s vast and so varied in its landscape.

There is so much land that is undeveloped, huge tracts of beauty, each unlike the next. Did you know there are hills that look like fern leaves with their crevasses and greenery? I’d never noticed before.

All that beauty. All that bounty. And so much hate that roils.

I kept thinking, we owe the land more than this. We owe Love to this Beauty and we owe it to one another.

Can we take a Sabbath from the divisiveness? Can we dedicate some time to really hearing those on the margins? We could try a day, and if it works, contemplate a week of Understanding…

It’s a lot. It’s hot. Just try it for a day. Be your best self. Be a welcoming presence. Be the Peace and Understanding this world needs. Because this land is your land. This is your country.



Understanding Sabbath; Understanding Peace

It seems that there is so much confusion these days. And some of the confusion, it often seems is about what it means to understand something. People look at something that’s different from their norm and they say they don’t understand… but they often seem to mean they don’t understand how something can be different from the way they see the world, and don’t want to look farther than that.

But understanding has to include acceptance, I think, don’t you? Acceptance of the reality — only then can we work to change things.

It’s a cold clear day here… feels like it should for the moment, even though temperatures will soar. Advent — a time of quiet waiting, deep listening, sweet anticipation. Today we light the fourth candle, Peace. The Sabbath — a time of respite, reflection and restoration. Peace — what we all so sorely need, what we must be engaged in.

Let there be Peace. May I be part of the wonderful journey. May you be my companion.

Alternative Advent — December 20: 10¢ for every non-water beverage you had today.


Mixed Up, Tongue-tied Peace, llvl

Oh, there are those days when you have no ideas where you are in the world when you travel like this. And it’s not just where you are, it’s what language (if any) you’re speaking. For me, my fluency in Swedish rises and falls as I’m here. Sometimes I can’t get the 10,000 (ok an extra 3) vowels right. All just slightly off American pronunciations and use the wrong one, not only does the word change meaning, you can look a little cray-cray. “huh?”

Some days I have no language at all, not a word to be found in either Swedish or English and don’t even think about French. And other days the language is all mixed up — an odd mixture of swinglish roots, prefixes and suffixes, nouns and verbs and adjectives… oh the adjectives are almost always in the wrong language.

Luckily, my friends, one American Swede and one Swede, are pretty good this… they’ve both had the same experience. And of course, Swedes, even those not American born, speak English fluently. Many Swedes want to speak English and get some practice in — never mind that they get to watch English and American TV. (And let’s not even mention the 6 year old with a Swedish mother and English dad attending school in Copenhagen and speaking all three languages fluently!) So I bump along. Sometimes I feel like someone’s very cute pet goat: look what I can do: Speak, Ann! (give me more cake, please! Let’s go swimming!)

But it is exactly in that laughing stew that the willingness to understand and be understood exists. It is in that hunger for friendship and acceptance of differences that Peace is born. We’ve all loved one another a long time. I’d like to think others of us could learn to Love in that same stew. Come on in, the Peace Stew’s here for everyone… Waking up to the need. Developing the hunger. Stepping up to the challenge… doing the Work. Peace.