The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.
— e.e. cummings

For a minute or two, it’s sort of flattering when someone says something like, “I’ve noticed you haven’t posted anything on the blog in awhile. I miss it.” That feeling quickly gives way to feelings of failure and foreboding because the words won’t come, or maybe no matter what words I write someone is going to be hurt or offended, or I’ll make a fool of myself, or someone will add my name to their prayer list because the words at the front of my mind are degenerative. For some reason I’ve let the language of the current public discourse affect me. These words are words of frustration and despair, and are a dam holding back better words and thoughts.

So, I’ve been trying to say nothing, and the result is that I have nothing to say. I try. I open my journal to a blank page, or lay my fingers on the ASDF — JKL; keys on the keyboard… Nothing.

Here’s my plan. I’m going to carefully and mindfully try to type this out of my system.

At 66 years old my values are pretty well set. I’m not likely to change much at the core, although I do want to always be a “learn-it-all” rather than a “know-it-all”. My values, including my aspirational values lean toward humility, service, honor, love, peace and freedom (not just in a constitutional rights kind of way, but in a freedom to BE, in all the fullness of the gifts, grace and goodness of God).

So right now, in this cesspool of political divisiveness and narcissism my prayer and plea is for PEACE. That’s the word and the attitude I hope will give me something to say so I can move on to saying other things. I know the whole “give peace a chance” thing is idealistic and naive, just like it was in the 60s when that message made sense for me. Back then, I wore a “peace” button and put a peace sign bumper sticker on my VW bus. I remember once getting out of my bus in a parking lot and a man, seeing the bumper sticker said, “The footprint of the American chicken! You one of them hippie draft dodgers?”

I pretended to ignore him. I should have said, “Why is it rednecks always use pronouns when they need a good adjective?” That would have showed him. But I was a “Peacenik”. Better to turn the other cheek.


Now I’m taking it to the streets. I’m not going to buy a VW bus or start wearing bell-bottoms, or let what little hair I have grow long, but I did decide the least I could do was wear a peace button, sort of like wearing my feelings and opinion on my sleeve. This time the demonstration will be a little more laid back than in the 60s, more appropriate for someone in their 60s.

The first hurdle to my little revoltion was finding the peace buttons. I did find some on Etsy (whatever that is), but while I’m a big believer in Peace, I’m not going to pay three bucks from my buttons, so I had some made for less than a dollar. 

This peace thing is for me all parts spiritual, political, personal, physiological, psychological, selfish, selfless, emotional, prayful, playful, antiestablishment and a quiet shaking of my mini-fist in the face of institutions (in a peaceful, loving way of course). I believe Jesus when he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

NOTEIn this day of twisted religious/political worldviews, I feel I need to offer this: Not to try to speak for Jesus, but I’m am highly confident that when He speaks of Blessed he is not in any sense of the word speaking of the concept of “blessed” espoused by the properity gospel preachers and creepy, narrow religion of “fundamentalist evangelicals”. In fact, I am certain that when it comes to comparing that worldview to the actual Gospel, the phrase “prosperity gospel” is an oxymoron. Sorry, sometimes honesty doesn’t seem very peaceful.

Let me throw this out there. If you would like to jump on the “Peace Train” (music and lyrics by Cat Stevens), you don’t have to burn your draft card, your AARP card or your bra, just pin on your button; literally or figuratively. If you don’t have one, next time you see me, ask for one. If you promise to wear it, it’s yours. Of course, if you would like to pitch in a dollar to help the cause… Peace costs.