The world knows what is happening in Ukraine. Those who live in that country, those with family living there, people around the world watching the news know about the war.  There is a sense of feeling powerless, broken, fragile.  

“What if” … conversations are commonplace in homes, offices, schools, factories, and shops as the world comes to grips with the human suffering happening because of the war and the nuclear threat which could lead to global destruction.

As I broke my egg for this morning’s breakfast, I remembered that while eggshells are fragile and easily broken, when a raw egg in its shell is held in the palm of a hand and squeezed, it cannot be broken.

Eggshells are strong under compression.  Ukrainians are proving this day by day.  They are leading the world in what it means to be a people of courage and a people who look for, pray, hope … hope for, and believe, peace is possible. 

These days, peace seems like the elusive Pimpernel.  War is happening in Ukraine.  Shanghai has shut-down again because of COVID.  There is a threat of nuclear / bacterial / chemical war.  There are global financial crises and personal health / family / work struggles. 

I often find myself looking to the sky – watching the clouds, the sunsets/sunrises, the birds soaring overhead.  As I do,  faces of dear friends appear in my thoughts.   I believe that thoughts are transformed into prayer.  The faces I see are the faces of those dealing with the ugly beasts called cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, M.S., etc., and their exhausted caregivers.  One was told that “nothing more can be done”.  One was praying for a gentle end.  One was exhausted and had decided against further chemo.  One died last week.

Faces of other friends also appear in my thoughts and prayers  … the faces of friends who are terrified of the pandemic that doesn’t seem to want to leave this planet; fearful of the threat of nuclear war; terrified that they/their family members/friends/neighbours will be murdered, raped, tortured by invading soldiers.  One cannot sleep. One is obsessed with the news. One spoke of “ending it all now before things get worse.”

When I find myself unable to process the suffering, the fear, the future for the children of this world, I remember the dove. 

Since Mesopotamian times, the dove has been a symbol of peace. As I reflect, as I remember others, I discover momentary glimpses of peace which often come in the most unexpected of ways
… in the awe of an eagle flying above
… in the scent of a fresh lemon
… in the warmth of a cup of hot chocolate
… in seeing lines drawn on a page becoming a pattern or image
… in the cuddle in a favourite blanket
… in an afternoon nap
… in the sound of gentle music

I make a conscious effort to imagine the dove again and again and again when processing the horrors of the war become too much.   I picture the dove in my mind’s eye, hovering over the various cities of Ukraine; gently surrounding the hospitals, orphanages, homes, underground bomb shelters, on the battlefield, in the city streets, where the fear of those in those places is palpable, and my mind becomes a momentary place of sacred rest – of courage, strength, peace.

Fear must not be given space to overwhelm, to terrorize, to rob us of hope or of peace.  Words can be powerful and can move us to consider possibilities, pray,  and glimpse experience moments of peace …  

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”  <Mahatma Gandhi>

“Peace begins with a smile.”  <Mother Teresa>

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” <Malcolm X>

“Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.”  <Ezra Taft Benson>

“It’s time for us to turn to each other, not on each other.” <Jesse Jackson>

“We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”  <Jimmy Carter>

“War settles nothing.” <Dwight Eisenhower>

“Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” <Albert Einstein>

“Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.” <Victor Hugo>

“People do not make wars; governments do.”  <Ronald Reagan>

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” <Mother Teresa>

“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”  <George Orwell>

“You don’t liberate a country standing on the soil of another.”  <Fadia Faqir>

“My religion is based on truth and nonviolence.”   <Mahatma Gandhi>

May there be peace on earth.
And may it begin with me.

Shalom.  Paix.  Vrede. 
Patz.  Salaam.  Lapè. 
Hacaña.  Mir.   Santi. 
Zhi-bde.  Pau.  Minaggen. 
Hohiyi.   Heddwich.  Friede. 
Irini.  Paco.  Baké. 
Paz.  Solh.  Síocháin.
Shee.  śānti.  Udo. 
Friður.  Rangima’arie. 
Nohopuku.  Rongo.  Vrede. 
Pokój.  Pace. 
Santipap.  Barış.


© June Maffin