Monday, October 13, 2014

Peace, & Giving Up Our Ideas Of Superiority

"Peace...peace, all men aspire to peace. But peace for the man without work, who has not enough to feed his wife and children, peace for the immigrant alone without friends, peace for the people living under tyranny or in slums, is quite different from the peace sought by the affluent. For them, peace means: 'Leave me in peace...don't touch my things.' This is the peace of those satisfied with themselves and their lot  and who remain deaf to the cries of misery and of suffering humanity. This kind of peace is an undercover war which slays the afflicted by indifference. It is maybe worse than open violence,  because it goes frequently under the banner of virtue. This peace is not for us. It is a crime that calls out to God for vengeance.

Neither is peace a compromise, fixing borders and external acts, a discussion that stops violence on the outside but does not stop hatred. Peace is real understanding, and more, deep respect for others. Contempt causes division and promotes jealousy, hate and violence. As long as there are men, or groups of men, or countries and races who consider themselves to be superior, and who treat others with disdain, there will be war. Peace will not come except through a radical conversion in men, by which they will look on others without fear, as brothers to be respected. This conversion involves loving others with different qualities, different cultures, languages, habits, needs and sufferings; not wishing to impose our culture and our ideas, but allowing them to express themselves according to their own ways. Peace can come only when men and countries become humble with respect to each other, when they stop amassing armaments and drop their attitudes of superiority and aggression, in favour of an attitude of service. It is necessary to dispel rivalry so as to give birth to friendship, mutual trust, cooperation and sharing."

~ Jean Vanier. "Eruption To Hope." 1971.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

unfinished business

it's the embrace never given
the listening ear never offered
it's the cigarette left unlit
the ounce of vodka left in the rock glass
it's the novel missing its last chapter
the ballad missing its final stanza
it's the dream that goes unchased
it's the pain that's never released
it's the endless trysts without making love
it's the lullabies murmured without soul
it's the four-wheel drive that never strays from the highway
it's the mind that never wanders down the unsearched path
the wick without spark
the lake with no visitors
it's the cream without coffee
it's the unused side of the bed
it's the unknown heart
the unclasped hand
the untouched upper lip
it's what it is to be human
it's the feeling that tonight goes unslaked.
~ Mark Andrew Nouwen