Finding Goodness and Peace in a Troubled World

February 25

May I never become so hard-hearted that I can see and watch tragedies and be un-moved. I cried when I heard that Russia is attacking Ukraine. How do I maintain mental health when the world seems topsy-turvy? Where do I find hope?

I have found two things that help me, and both have to do with perspective and trust.

One thing that gives me hope is trusting that how I live makes a difference. What makes for peace in families, relationships, workplaces, and communities is the same thing that makes for peace nationally and internationally. I feel powerless to effect change in the conflict in Ukraine, but I believe that as I practice living in peace I am “thinking globally and acting locally”.

Living in peace (not that I do it perfectly,) means:

  • Meeting the other with curiosity and wonder, and not fear or judgement.
  • Recognizing that what I hear has already been screened through several filters including, what the other intends to say, what she says, the context in which she says it, the context in which I hear it, what I hear, what I understand.
  • Recognizing that what I say goes through all the same filters.
  • Trying to be honest with myself – recognizing my filters and acknowledging what I cling to for security or comfort.
  • Trying to be honest with others – neither flattering by saying what I know they want to hear, nor shrinking from what I need to say. There are many times I can keep silent, but when I do speak it needs to be as honest as possible.
  • not needing to give my informed or uninformed opinion on anything or everything. What I do is more important than what I say.
  • Needing to say something to a person directly and not behind his back, when something is important enough for me to speak.
  • Recognizing that neither I nor anyone else is perfect. Forgive myself. Forgive the other.

The second thing that gives me hope is goodness in the world. When I look inside myself, I see goodness. I am not all goodness, but there is goodness within me that desires to live lovingly and peacefully in the world. Perspective enables me to recognize that this goodness that is in me is also in others. For me, living in hope means to trust in the foundational goodness that underpins the natural world. I understand this Goodness as the Spirit of the Creator who lives in everyone and everything. However, even those who do not have this understanding of a Creator can still trust in what they know to be true: their desire for goodness, and the goodness within themselves.

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for compassion that draws together prayers for peace from around the world .