A group of us gathered to talk about Peace. The World Cup was an example of Peace. The whole world watching a game between nations. It was competitive but with rules and without unbridled violence. It had a level playing field with every country having an opportunity to win.
We pretty quickly started to talk about the opposite of Peace, WAR. Many had memories of the Cold War from the sixties to the eighties. Memories of protesting for peace in Oxfordshire. A new US military jet, the F111E required a longer runway. This could only make England more of a target in the long-running Cold War. A child's visions of missiles all rising up out of the ground as the end of the world seemed already underway. The fear and terror filling everyone especially in D.C. , the perceived clear target. Plans being made to evacuate but to where? Duck and cover drills designed to make the children feel safe but just added to the fear. And the continuing challenge of seeing the United States operate as a bully in the world. Now fearless, without the adversary of the Soviet Union, the US is ever increasingly doing violence to other nations.
How easy it is to be peaceful in the garden. How "peace and quiet" is the idiom for what we would like personally to experience in our lives. We all agreed that it was easier to have peace when you were alone in the garden or completely by yourself.
We talked about Peace coming from wholeness. Then we argued what wholeness meant. Did Wholeness mean exclusion? Whole as being the same, "we're in this together." Whole meaning having boundaries and knowing who is part of a group and who is not. Whole being a lack of willingness to accept difference. The discussion lit up and got more animated as we wrestled with what whole meant for peace. It could only be whole with an opening for inclusion and embracing the other.
So how do we embrace diversity and difference? Is that the key to peace?
It's only by having the circle be slightly open that peace can reside. Peace is about embracing the other, enclosing the other, being porous and open to difference.