Peace on Earth, at home, anyway
“Peace on Earth” this Christmas?
Don’t think so. So many Christmas cards I’ve mailed, promising “Peace on
Earth.” Hasn’t happened in my lifetime. I have seen Christmas cards in family
scrapbooks from the 1940s, including 1943, the year I was born. They promised
“Peace on Earth,” in the middle of World War II, with the first tactical atomic
explosion at Hiroshima still two years away. I haven’t and wouldn’t be able to
document it, but I’ll bet Earth has not had a moment of peace since then.
Maybe if we narrowed it down. “Peace in the Christian World.” Nope. “Peace in
America.” Daily murders, violence and crime, in streets, in movies and on TV.
“Peace in California.” Road rage capital of the world. “Peace in San Diego.” Har
de har har. Corruption City. “Peace in La Mesa.” La Mesa is where I live, and
we do have our quiet moments, but why would I offer that as your Christmas
wish? “Peace at my house.” Now we’re getting close, as long as we don’t watch
the news, but peace at my house doesn’t do you much good, and your good is
No, once again this Christmas, peace anywhere on Earth has to be portable, and
that peace is achievable. Insurance follows the car, and peace follows the
person. “Peace in your mind” is totally possible this Christmas Day, or if not this
Christmas (it takes a little work), then by next Christmas. If peace follows all the
people who come to sit down at your Christmas dinner, then you will have
“Peace at the Christmas dinner table.”
At many Christmas dinner tables, though, including many in my past, you might
as well ask for “Peace on Earth.”
So many people go through life wired with buttons to be pushed. Such buttons
can be pushed from a range of a thousand miles. All it takes is the right word
traveling through the air. Get a dozen button-wired people at a Christmas dinner
table, and watch out.
The buttons can be unwired. All you have to do is take back the power you have
given to some other person to push it. These can be very important and powerful
people: mothers, fathers, etc. But it isn’t their power they use to push your
buttons. It is yours. You gave it to them years ago, probably starting in
childhood. With that power, they can push your buttons at any time and make
you feel small, cheap, insignificant, selfish, ungrateful, undesirable, inferior, a
lifelong waster of every opportunity you ever had at achieving the greatness that
you were born for, if you had only listened to the person leaning with all his or her
weight against the thumb pressing your button.
You gave that person that power and weight, and you can take it back. All it
takes is forgiveness. Appropriate, at the Christmas season, and the figure it
celebrates, that the route to peace involves forgiveness. But it works. I don’t
know exactly how it works, and it takes some work and willingness to get there,
but when you forgive, you take power back, and peace is there waiting.
Forgiveness, power, surrender, peace and freedom are all different spellings of the same
human condition: happiness.
When you are ready, and it very well could require some professional guidance,
you come to a point where you simply say in your mind to a person: “I forgive
you.” At that instant, the button becomes unwired. The person may say the
same things as before, words that for years you felt as sandpaper in your ears or
an arrow through your heart. But now the words pass right through you and out
into space. Left behind is a feeling of liberation you have known only in your
You haven’t said a word to the person about forgiveness. The person knows
something has happened, though, because the button doesn’t work anymore.
So he or she quits pushing, and it is a relief. It was your power, but it required
their energy to keep their thumbs on your buttons all those years, and at some
point, inside themselves, they will feel relieved.
But this Christmas story about reachable peace is not about them; it is about you.
It is a true story.
Labels: Alta Mira