Occasionally, my husband and I escape daily havoc for a lunch date. This past week, in a corner booth of a restaurant, we discussed familial conflicts, immediate and extended. Just as I checked my phone for the time and my oldest called to see if we were on our way, my husband asked, “What do you think about war?”
After four years of dating prior to our twenty years of marriage, wouldn’t he know my thoughts? But, I recounted them anyway. A lot has changed since 1989!
As I watched the bombs bursting on my black-and-white TV screen in 1991, all I could think about was his excited voice over the phone line. My concerns about a draft or worse—if he volunteered for service—seemed less selfish than oil prices, dictatorships, and big countries attacking little countries. Because, it seemed to me, life and death outweighed any other gains. Why should our dreams die before they had a chance to live? We never had to know because this light show was brief—at least for us.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, innocence collapsed with the Twin Towers. My mother-heart desired vengeance for the lives destroyed. Even as a new battle surfaced in our small family that November, I discovered fighting against elusive terror requires more than a swift responsive surge. It takes decades, even a lifetime.
Today, I admit it. I barely listen to the vacillating political decisions about our military presence in the Middle East. Most of the time, I am in the middle of my own peace-making within our home as a wife and a mother of three boys. I am learning to negotiate my dreams for theirs.
Perhaps I am naive and selfish. Shouldn’t I hope for world peace? But, I don’t. I hope for my world’s peace. That in some small way a piece of my peace will add peace to the lives of others. When faced with personal conflict, I want to say with Abraham Lincoln, “’I don’t like that man [woman, or child]. I must get to know him [or her] better.’” If my life focus is on Matthew 22:37-40—“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ …the first and greatest commandment. And the second… ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [because] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”—, then haven’t I done my part for peace?
What do I think about war…and peace? “In keeping with his promise [I am] looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).