At home. Watching the war. On TV.
“Sammy, what are you doing?”
“At home. Watching the war. On TV.”
My dad was out of town for work and had called to check in with me. What he found was a young girl overwhelmed by the Gulf War. I still remember glimpses of what that was like. I felt so confused about how we could let this happen. How could people be fighting? How could people kill each other?
I put yellow ribbons on fences and chanted, “Bring out boys home!” I was so very sad about the war.
Just the other day I was reflecting on this, and one of the first things I thought was how naïve I was. Of course there was war. People fight wars because power and control are so seductive. How childish I was to think my yellow ribbons might make a difference.
But then again, maybe that’s all I could do, and at least I was doing something. Maybe the earnestness with which I mourned the Gulf War as a five-year-old is the same earnestness I should keep for today’s wars because war is unacceptable. We think of it as inevitable, and maybe it is. But surely it doesn’t have to be. Maybe I’m a naïve 36 year old now, but I cannot accept that we are unable to choose peace over war.
There is not much I can personally do about the war in Ukraine. Nor can I do much in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, or anywhere.* But I can pray. And I can hold thoughts of peace. And I can advocate for peace in every space in my life.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I will make #PeaceCranesForUkraine and live a life that advocates for peace. It’s not nothing. It’s often the only way things happen—one person, one action, one moment at a time.
May we have peace in our world.
Pastor to the neighborhood
*I recognize that I actually could do something. I could move to a place under attack and sit with the people. I acknowledge that I choose not to do this and choose, instead, to remain home with my family.