Some days, I drive past the courthouse in town and see several Quakers standing happily on the front sidewalk, holding their “peace” signs and waving at passing cars. I smile, have a feel-good moment and honk my horn. I also ponder whether their dream of peace is pie-in-the-sky or whether we, as a human race, can truly attain peace on earth? Can every person, regardless of sex or gender, walk down the streets any time of day or night and feel safe? Can gun violence become non-existent because there are no guns? Can food be plentiful and affordable and local? Can energy be clean and renewable and good for the environment? Can quality education and health care be available to every world citizen? Is any of this a possibility?
I don’t know all the answers but I do know that the feel-good moment when I saw the peace signs of the Quakers is an example of how peace and happiness can be contagious. What is our personal role in bringing peace to the world and the people around us? What is the number of times we negatively judge or disrespect our family, neighbors, friends, colleagues or even strangers? How often do we frown or smile each day? How deeply do we cultivate our own personal happiness and positive personal peace? How often do we pay it forward?
As higher-consciousness thinkers hoping to make a change, we need to take responsibility for controlling our own personal stress we don’t cause stress or harm for others. “Think globally, act locally” has become a cliché mantra, but is, in fact, a reminder that individual action and change can help address the larger scale issues that we face collectively as a human family on this planet.
Many people would find peace on earth impossible, but I hope it’s not. As one person, that’s all I can do. Maybe a more hope-inspiring spin on this message is remembered in Margaret Mead’s famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”