By Lisa Catherine Brown
What if a dream of peace could be realized even if for a day? One young man — Shephen Shoemaker — had an idea for A Day of Peace with three rules. He posted it on Facebook.
We at AOC think it’s a great idea and another way that social networking can touch our lives in a positive way so Anne made the quick decision to support the cause and I quickly followed.
This isn’t a United Nations pass for individuals and groups to create practical ideas of peace. It’s not a week of brainstorming on how to get along, bridge differences and lessen the gaps that divide us. It’s just one guy asking people to try, simply try, to follow three principles for one day to be a better person and see what happens. Today is that day.
On January 9, 2011, he posted this idea and by February 27th his idea had a million followers. Today 1,678,417 have agreed to ‘attend’ A Day of Peace and we are spreading his message.
This young man’s efforts aren’t scientific or calculable. How many will truly make the valiant effort at kindness and understanding that Stephen Shoemaker urges us to do will never be known, but he has reached over a million and a half people in less than two months! That is a remarkable fait accompli!
I must note that 1,296,793 are not attending A Day of Peace and for many reasons.
As one person just wrote: “It’s kinda hard to have a day of peace in a war zone.” Another person says the pursuit of peace is illogical and against the laws of nature. War is good for the survival of the fittest.
War Is Not Darwinian Sport | Humans Can Do Better
We don’t embrace war as sport and are adopting Stephen’s three rules for today, his Day of Peace.
#1. Say not a single unkind thing about anyone or anything. If at all possible, try not to even think a nasty thought. If we do, reflect on why it was that we thought to say it in the first place.
#2. Show everyone we cross paths with some genuine human compassion. Be it with a smile or kind words, just spread some love.
#3. Make not one person the exception to the rule. Not everyone deserves to have roses thrown at their feet and have a holiday in their honor, but nobody deserves to feel alone. Reach out. Talk to someone new. Care about them, and we will be cared for in return.
Our friend, Stephen, claims it is a ‘simple proposition’ and I hope he is right. Certainly we all can benefit from being on both sides of kindness and understanding. I admit I would like to be both on the giving and receiving end of a smile, a nod, inner reflection, sweet thoughts, words and deeds.
Humans Get Angry Always, But For One Day How About Peace?
I’ve had my share of angry moments, loathing, bitter feelings toward many this past week, including inanimate objects (computers and coffee pots in particular!) So I ask myself, with the constant injustices of civil and human abuses in every corner of the world, and all the minor frustrations of daily life that lead me astray, can I do this?
Can I live a day where the statistics of sexual violations against women don’t invade my head? Can I ignore the pictures of starving children in magazines, news reports from Northern Africa and the Mid-East of peaceful protesters being attacked by brutal dictators, the corrupt politicians giving speeches and soapbox ultimatums here at home?
Can I let go of my horror and fright in regard to legislation, pending or passed, that will restrict American liberties, and again make women, children, elderly, poor and disabled expendable liabilities? Can I just not listen to the lies, the debates, the arguments over global warming, GMO’s, oil spills and flocks of dead birds?
I probably cannot give up completely on revisiting these thoughts, for they are very real threats to my being and to the existence of those I love including future generations that I do not and never will know. I cannot let my guard down or shield my eyes or stop the fight I have begun as a writer, an activist, an interpreter of information and, yes, an opinionated bitch.
But I can and I do give a smile, offer compassion, listen, and reflect on what I think and how I express it will affect others. I do these things naturally. What will be harder for me is not to say (or think) a mean thought about certain politicians, atrocities I’m sure to hear or read about, or even thoughts of my brother, whom I love but is in need of greater compassion than I can offer.
How can I ignore the fact that I’ve had one computer in for repair three times in one week and it’s still giving me error messages? And what about my plow guy who doesn’t charge me the same price each time he plows the same driveway? I might even be mad at the weather, because if it’s really crappy out I won’t meet someone new to talk to unless someone happens to read this and friends me on facebook!
Okay, so that’s a little tongue in cheek and I really want to take this seriously, as seriously as I can take anything that, so I want to give some kudos to people and organizations that are working hard to make a difference in the lives of others, in the spirit of Mother Earth and to those in the hardest situations of all, those living, surviving and some even thriving in the trenches.
I salute sufferers and survivors of abuse, disease, addiction, injustice, repression and oppression. May obstacles be removed, faith revived, hope lived and happiness be found in the middle of your journey so you have plenty of time to enjoy it.
To tireless workers on behalf of the above, may you have strength to get through each day and then another, may your faith and hope remain lit with passion and love for what you do and those you touch and your happiness found in each minute you give and receive. A thousand million hugs from everyone who attends A Day of Peace.
Raj Kapoor | Children in Paradise
I can’t help thinking about the world’s children, perhaps because I am a mother of four.
Anne’s Facebook friend Raj Kapoor lives in Ramput, Uttar Pradesh. Raj studied electrical engineering but he is a poet and artist who cares deeply about the world.
The beauty of FB is that it brought Anne and Raj together and now we can post his video about war and children.
Each Of Us Touches Many
Lastly, I personally thank those who without their presence in my life I would not be here or be the person who I am. Too many that I cannot name everyone - so in the true meaning of peace, I honor those who may not understand my appreciation and love for them – my mother, my sister and my aforementioned brother, my dad and step-mom. I take responsibility for keeping the gaps wide open and I have my reasons but I reflect often and send love and care daily.
My husband who supports me unconditionally. My children, each unique and fascinating, have saved me, entertained me, worried me and made me very happy and proud. My step-kids, all stars with special gifts - I understand it is often hard to be steppin’ this-way-n-that.
Anne, my editor, who took a chance on me and I hope I can make the adjustments I need to live up to my own dreams.
So you really don’t have to friend me on facebook, unless of course, you want to share the love. Peace!
P.S. I hereby declare one day of peace each week in my real life to-doings to give my heart and mind a respite from the terrors we all read and hear about each day. It will likely be random, but I invite you all to share stories of happy, kind-hearted, uplifting and heartening reports from around the globe that you read, hear or write about.
Thank you, Stephen Shoemaker and thank you AOC friends! We look forward to the added joy in our lives and those we touch. I heart you all! Lisa
John Lennon | Give Peace A Chance