Beloved and his friends were talking about peace, how elusive it is when it comes to groups of humans living no close proximity to each other. If the groups of humans have the same values and beliefs, the disruption of peace tends to be smaller and easily bridged. When the groups have different values and beliefs that gap in bridge to peace can be wide and vast.
John, just back from covering yet another conflict full of human horror and tragedy wondered if people would ever learn that peace can’t be found in the firing of a gun or the piercing of a bullet into yielding flesh. Prior to guns there were swords and axes, clubs and such.
By the same token that John need the guns and bullets wouldn’t bring about peace he also was grateful for the presence of these items. He talked about relief of knowing that there was protection in the form of force, tanks and planes as well as armed people. He talked about the beautiful sight of seeing his protectors fully geared up after he had just faced his own drama by people who believed differently than he did.
And that’s really the problem isn’t it? We want peace, but we need the security that if the others do something untoward, we are prepared. We simply cannot trust them as they haven’t given us anything to deem them worthy of our trust. No doubt there is this same thing on their side.
Peace isn’t an easy thing when it comes to conflicts. Sure we say, out down your weapons, but it’s the thoughts, beliefs and images that are much harder to put down. It is those very things that may have led to the conflict in the first place. And once blood has been spilled, lives taken and horrible injuries inflicted, well then putting down things is harder for it means that spilled blood, those lost lives and the permanent injuries are to be ignored. As if it is okay that this happened.
Peace requires a desire to change, a willingness to move forward and to forgive (which is not the same as forgetting or condoning) and an acceptance that it will come in stumbling fits and momentary stops. It will not feel natural at first, not for some, but if we all keep that flame of desire burning as well as the belief that it can work…maybe, just maybe we will be pleasantly surprised and we will forget our weapons and set aside the need to vilify that which we do not understand.