Tears rolled down my older sister’s cheeks—tears of relief as we listened to the radio announcing the end of World War II. At the age of eight when this occurred, I was aware of the reality of a nuclear bomb ending war. I felt more than I understood how we lived on the brink of terrible danger.
Whether one is in the military or civilian, an adult or a child, war touches each of us. Even if we do not live in a war zone, research indicates that just watching the news on television provokes alarming psychological effects including depression, fear, anxiety and aggression.
What can one individual do? Too often we think we can’t make a difference. Such was not the case for the Peace Pilgrim who for 28 years walked across the U.S. dedicated to peace. She once said, “The nuclear bomb says—peace or perish.” She refused to accept “perish” and feeling powerless. She cultivated peace within herself and then turned her attention to her world. During those 28 years she accomplished a great deal: accepting others no matter their race, gender, social status or beliefs
My own passion for peace manifested in a different way. Instinctively I pursued educational paths to understand it. Whether on a conscious level or not, education became the cornerstone of building peace and security within myself and my relationships. Over the years I obtained a number of degrees that opened the door to ways--I—one woman—could counter the effects of war. I have made my passion my vocation: to teach, educate and model a life of peace.
On September 21, 2017 I organized and presented a peace event in Santa Fe, NM. Enthusiasm ran high as attendees listened to music of a flute, heard several compassionate speeches on various perspectives of peace. I spoke, ending my message with the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Regardless of individual religious, beliefs attendees meditated on these words of peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where this in injury, pardon
Where there is despair, hope
Try it yourself. Go ahead. Just say these lines out loud. Speak them from your heart or to someone who is close to you.
Thank you—you are making a difference!
Comments regarding this are most welcome.
Jeannette M. Gagan, PhD is an award-winning Author, licensed psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and an Ambassador for Peace. Over the years she has learned to use writing as a platform to educate, celebrate progress, and set new goals for PEACE within for all.