There has been a lot of talk about Harry and Megan this week. Polarising, hot-headed opinions including the passionate view point that being entirely uninterested is the only right reaction. It has made me wonder what it looks like to, “keep the peace” and whether attempts to keep the peace can result in perpetuating injustice and willingly ignoring the ravages of war.
Keeping the peace, conjures the idea that peace is present and then we go and disrupt it. As though we are standing by the glass top lake, reflective, clear and undisturbed. That it is only when we move, make noise, use our voice or our feet, that the ripples and waves are carved.
But peace cannot be kept, rather it must be created.
In so many aspects of my life, I have taken the temperature of a room, person, perspective, community and adjusted myself as a result. This occurred in the most significant way internally when I became a mother in the most unexpected fashion – to a boy with severe brain damage.
I thought I knew what it looked like to be a good wife, nurse, Christian, but this kind of motherhood – I had no idea. So, I squeezed and contorted, shape shifted and shrank. I tried to be what I was told he needed me to be by the many professionals supporting us.
Then I realised that my compliance wasn’t enough, I needed to shout louder and make demands in order to be the advocate I believed my son deserved. The parent he needed.
I’ve always been a peacemaker.
I’m the middle child.
The Miss Goodie-two- shoes.
I’m also the agitator, seeker of justice who isn’t afraid to raise a hand or voice – especially for the marginalised and voiceless. So in this paradox of thinking it is best if I am not noticed and yet wanting to cause a riot for change came a growing realisation that the peace I craved couldn’t be kept but rather needed to be created.
Peace does not come from adapting or ignoring but only through authentically living our whole self.
The peacemaker and troublemaker. The passionate person who thinks a nap in the middle of the day should be a God given human right protected by the UN.
My peace comes from being me in my full paradoxical technicolour.
Jesus loving, increasingly sweary, feminist, liberal(er), driven, passionate, leader (although I’m not quite sure who or what I’m leading and where too).
My inner and outer peace comes only through working to bridge the gaps between my life and values. The reality of my son and how he changes each one of us and our future together.
This peace is created as I bridge the gap between my faith and reality. In my relationships with others and unapologetic version of my true self. It is through having a ‘Strong back and soft front,’ as Joan Halifax described it. Where we say our uncomfortable truth and yet be prepared to sit in our vulnerability, listening attentively to people who have a different opinion. Brene Brown would add a ‘Wild heart’ too. Where we can be curious, kind and sit in that gap long enough to understand the margins which exist before we attempt to build the bridge. (I suggest you listen to this wonderful podcast ‘On being’ with Kirsta Tippett interviewing Brene Brown on more of that topic)
Our lives, communities and families (whatever kind of family you are part of – royal or otherwise) don’t find peace through an absence of conflict. Peace is created through true connection and dialogue, which often comes at a cost. It can be awkward, will most likely be challenging and painful. People are human and fragile and beautiful and difficult.
But if 2020 taught us anything – it is surely that disconnection comes with a much greater cost.