In the Absence of Peace, I Have Faith

Last Memorial Day, I wrote about my cousin – a Marine stationed in Afghanistan.  A lot can change in a year, but by the same token, much stays the same.  Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, over 1,500 American soldiers have died (according to stats on Wikipedia.)  By the grace of God, my cousin is not one of them.  He came home before Christmas last year.  Unfortunately, he will be in Afghanistan for another tour later this year.

In this post, I will not venture into political territory, because I am unarmed and ill-equipped to stroll through that minefield.  I also choose not to analyze past events to discern who is “right” or “wrong,” because judging is exactly what I want to do less of.  What fascinates (and sometimes frightens) me is our human nature.

Since Memorial Day is a designated day to remember men and women who died during military service, it started me thinking about conflicts throughout history.  Wars are fought for two main reasons:  to protect or gain power and defend or spread religious beliefs.  This may be an over-simplification, but that’s how my mind works best.

In college, I took a few Religions classes to round out my degree requirements, so I have an awareness of some spiritual beliefs other than Christianity.  My knowledge is about as deep as icing on a sheet cake, so I won’t claim to know the ins and outs of every religion, but I don’t remember hatred being the basis of any of them.

This is why I feel the lust for power drives most conflicts, even when defense of a religious belief is claimed.  Greed remains anonymous because no one wants to call it what it is.  The conflict must be justified – and surely God (or the spiritual leader) would approve of defending and spreading the word.

I wonder if the world would be a different (read: better) place if we were more in tune to the weaknesses of our human nature and committed ourselves to strength training.  Instead of allowing pride, entitlement and defensiveness to rule our actions, what if we gave humility and understanding a chance?  Instead of assuming a wrong was done to us intentionally, what if we gave the benefit of the doubt that the slight was accidental?  Instead of suspicious doubt, maybe we could draw on our faith and risk trust.

I know I’m a dreamer.  Thousands of years of history point to our inability to overcome our weaknesses.   No one is willing to be the first to lay down the sword (or disarm the nuclear firearm) because the consequences are too great.  The irony is, that in destroying the enemy, everyone is destroyed.

So, until my dreams of peace come true, I will continue to reflect on Memorial Day.  I will think of those families who have lost loved ones in war.  I will pray that my cousin does not become a casualty of human weakness.  I will appreciate the freedom I have to write and publish these words without fear –all because of the men and women who have fought to make this a right for citizens of the United States of America.

Child’s Interpretation of American Flag

I’d love to read your thoughts about Memorial Day and/or human nature – please feel free to share 🙂

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14 thoughts on “In the Absence of Peace, I Have Faith

  1. Aligaeta May 29, 2011 / 6:35 AM

    I am also a dreamer.

    On this Memorial Day I’d like to extend my thanks and prayers to the ‘other casualties of war’, the troops who return home unable to piece their lives back together and to the civilian ground zero rescue and recovery men and women, our volunteer troops, who lost their lives serving.

    Peace.

    • jannatwrites May 29, 2011 / 4:00 PM

      Beautifully said, Aligaeta. The survivors are often the forgotten casualties, as they have to make a life out of what’s left of their previous existence. It’s difficult for them, to say the least.

    • jannatwrites May 29, 2011 / 4:05 PM

      The author’s wording is hardly objective, but it does offer some support of my thinking that many “religious” battles are a mask for the real reason for attack, which is more power.

      Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

    • nrhatch May 29, 2011 / 8:05 PM

      So true.

      When the power of love overcomes the love of power . . . the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix.

      • JannatWrites May 29, 2011 / 10:42 PM

        Terrific quote, Nancy…and so perfect for this post. Thanks for coming back to share it. (The idea is so simple, but still profound…kind of makes me wish I would have thought to say it ;))

        I looked at my post again, and after a night’s sleep, I’m not sure it was clear that this statement was intended to be sarcastic: “The conflict must be justified – and surely God (or the spiritual leader) would approve of defending and spreading the word.”

        There. Now I can sleep tonight!

  2. Debbie May 29, 2011 / 8:55 AM

    Wars are an outgrowth of our sinful human nature. If Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten that blasted apple after they were told not to, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. Nor would we be wearing clothes, but that’s another subject! Prayers for your cousin’s (and his colleagues’) safe return and a swift, lasting peace!

    • jannatwrites May 29, 2011 / 4:09 PM

      Yeah, if wearing clothes wasn’t the norm, then perhaps I’d think differently about nudist colonies, right? (Playful reference to your recent post :))

      Our human weakness/sinful nature doesn’t exactly pave the way for peace. Thanks for your prayers, Debbie! Lasting peace would be a beautiful thing.

    • jannatwrites May 29, 2011 / 4:10 PM

      I’ll check it out. Thanks for stopping by, Carl!

  3. Carol Ann Hoel May 29, 2011 / 6:51 PM

    Someday there will be no more wars. Until then, we must defend ourselves and families when necessary. I am grateful for men and women that gave their lives to defend our nation. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • JannatWrites May 29, 2011 / 10:51 PM

      I agree – I’m all for defending ourselves. (It’s the attacking that I’m not too keen on.)

      A day without wars is certainly something to look forward to. Thanks for sharing your comment, Carol. I’m glad you stopped by.

  4. pattisj May 30, 2011 / 8:22 PM

    We all know our human nature stinks; all the more reason to honor those who gave their lives so selflessly that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today.

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2011 / 9:53 PM

      You said that very well, Patti – I couldn’t agree with you more.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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