With all the pings and dings and tweets and twits, sometimes it's hard to hear our own thoughts, let alone that still small voice of calm inside. Especially at this moment in time, I needed to hear my own still small voice. Mine said, “Go meet the world. There is more goodness than hate. There is another voice beyond the fear.”
I’ve been working on the Our State of Peace Documentary Series since February. I have sat and spoke with hundreds of people from around the world. The stories are compelling. They are sweet and thoughtful, heart wrenching and full of joy. It is clear, we are all more alike than not, complete with fears, desires and an innate hope for a peaceful, joyful existence. This is the base of our work, to weave this tapestry of possibility.
We ask: "How do we each create a peaceful existence and aren’t we more likely to come to each other in peace if we are experiencing more peace individually?"
This summer, I was compelled to meet our nation. I am not naïve. I am learned. I am paying attention. I still chose to believe in our goodness. And here’s the tricky part. I believe in ALL of our goodness. How can I be open to everyone but “X”? That sentence does not work with a caveat? That’s the challenge. This does not mean I condone or wish to take part in a specific belief. I simply seek to find the humanity.
The voices resonate:
Miriam, a Pakistani Muslim born and raised in Oklahoma City who has a great love and belief in her country…
Billy, who is given the respect of being an American when abroad but comes home and is treated only as an African American…
Tiana, a Philadelphian, who is grounded in her love of Jesus and her commitment to service…
Steve, who as a young boy was harassed by a racist cop, witnessed his father handle it with such dignity, that the same cop came to his door, hat in hand and apologized to him.
To tell you true, there is a part of me that is a little concerned I might not find my America. My America is not defined by race, color, or creed. My America is an ideal and that ideal, at our core, is what makes us uniquely American. We were built on the concept of striving for this ideal. Being American must become a verb once again.
I truly believe, now more than ever, every voice of calm can bring the shift towards more unity. Now more than ever, we may just be one voice away from a new world.
What if that voice is yours or mine?
What if in our fear we hold back that voice?
What if it is that voice, that one comment, that one deed which will shift our trajectory?
Being American is a verb. Here’s to your next moment, your next deed, your next word... May it bring us all more peace.