Everyone is always talking about how they want peace. Religious leaders talk about peace on earth, world leaders talk about peace between their country and another, etc. Particularly at this time of the year, when the holidays for many major religions is upon us. After listening to the rhetoric for all these years, I've decided that peace is a relative term. It means different things to different people, at different times.
For someone like Vladmir Putin, the leader of Russia, peace might mean being the big dog in the world arena and being able to dictate terms simply by being the biggest and the baddest. For Israel and other parts of the Middle East, peace means no longer having to worry about idiots blowing themselves up in the market place. For the terrorist group Daesh, peace means the end of the world. They have that in common with many doomsday cults. Most religious leaders speak of peace, referring to everyone getting along with each other, or maybe the entire world becoming one religion.
But the average person probably sees peace differently. The average person, like me, has a more specific form of the word in mind than a lofty, generic goal. A teacher might think of their students being quiet and attentive. A mom might think of her children getting along with each other without screaming. Not that we don't wish for the world to stop warring with one another. Every time there's a terrorist attack somewhere, we pray for peace. But in the day to day, we are focused on the smaller forms of peace. Goals that are more accessible. After all, most of us have enough trouble just keeping ourselves at peace in a tumultuous world. Who can blame us?
Maybe these little bits of peace, as small as they are, are just as important. Maybe world peace, that very abstract, very faraway hope, is achieved one little peace at a time. Tiny steps toward a lofty goal, but at least we are heading in the right direction.