Doing my job
Last month my brother left for Afghanistan. He is a United States Marine and scheduled for a 14-month deployment to a “Forward Operating Base,” which, in layperson terms, is a base engaged in “the action.”
When my brother first told me two years ago that he had enlisted in the Marine Corps, the word shocked, doesn’t really capture it. Maybe heartbroken is more apt. Let me give you a little snapshot of my world. I am a peace activist. With a homemade patch on my worn-out backpack proclaiming, “Invest in peace, not war” and an intention in my heart to spread peace seeds far and wide, I have traveled the world and found myself in bus stations, grocery stores, and immigration lines advocating for active peacemakers in the world. Since the war in Afghanistan began, I have marched, rallied, gathered, and held vigils for the message of peace. The very week before my brother left, I had marched alongside a group of veterans for peace protesting the war in Afghanistan.
So, now I have a brother who is soldier in a foreign war. I need some good ideas.
When I talked with my dad, who has always been a pro-military guy, he said something that really made me feel desperate. He said, “Well, Veronica, you better do your job [peace-making] so he doesn’t have to do his.” I have been marching, protesting, talking, organizing, for
years, but now, it felt like my brother’s well-being was directly in my hands.
How to deal with this? I, Veronica, cannot end war all by myself, no matter how many rallies I participate in. I believe these events are a part of a larger awakening to a possibility, a pure, divine wonderful possibility of harmony. They are expressions of the eternal ideas of Principle and Life and Love. And Principle, Life, and Love, which truly bring about the end of conflict are what I must turn to.
I often hear in my conversations that we live in a world with “inevitable conflict” and “necessary war.” But is war or conflict ever truly inevitable or necessary? Mary Baker Eddy writes that “Love is the liberator.” 1 Is there ever a time when love has run out of options?
When I speak to others of my brother’s deployment, some say, “Well, if anyone is going to be out there, I’m glad it is him.” I immediately reject the notion that anyone must be out there. Accepting this idea would be to accept Love’s potential ineffectiveness. War will not emancipate us from the imprisonment of injustice, suffering, destruction. It cannot. The only thing that can emancipate us is Love, and nothing can diminish that.
Here is an idea I discovered in my journey to find fresh ways to pray about ending war and conflict. There is a story of one of Mary Baker Eddy’s students who has a patient who was suffering from an injury received during the United States’ Civil War. After praying with this person for some time, the practitioner saw no change and asked Mrs. Eddy why the treatment was not working. Mrs. Eddy replied that the patient and the practitioner both believed that there was a war attached to the patient’s history—that he had a history separate from God (see Ira W. Packard, “Justification,” Christian Science Sentinel, May 10, 1913. Eddy writes, “. . . Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.” 2
True, I am still exploring the depth of this metaphysical concept but one thing that stands out to be is that the familiar words “No War” get a radically different meaning with this thought applied. My demands for “No War” have not been just for achieving No War now, but for perceiving No War ever—not now, not in the future, and even not in the past. Light never knows darkness. God’s creation is “unchanged in its eternal history,” and that is a history free from fear, free from violence, free from evil—free from war of any kind.
Each one of us must commit to the reality that war is obsolete—is no part of divine reality. Imagine what we will witness then!
This prayer is ongoing and I would love all of your ideas.
Topics: World Issues | Tags: demonstrations, military, military service, peace, rallies, war