Our family will visit the cemetery today. Someone from the American Legion will hand us poppies. The pastor will say a few words to those who’ve gathered.
And then, we will bow our heads for a moment of silence. No one will speak. The air will fill with birdsong and the sound of flags flapping in the breeze.
In that moment, I will pray as I always pray: for peace to rule in hearts everywhere.
That’s how I’ve celebrated Memorial Day since I was a kid – with a few moments in a cemetery, observing and remembering. Maybe your Memorial Day looks similar to mine. Or maybe you’ll spend your day at a lake, or a park, or around the grill in your backyard. Wherever you may be today, may your day be filled with peace. And may you find a way to share a bit of your peace with the people around you.
The world feels short on peace these days, doesn’t it?
Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” I worry, sometimes, that we forget that we really are in this together. It’s a noisy, hectic, I’m-right-you’re-wrong world out there. Today, I want to make a special effort to be less concerned with making a point, and more concerned with making some peace.
If there really is going to be peace on earth, as the song says, “Let it begin with me.”
If there will be peace on Facebook,
or around the dinner table,
or in a sanctuary,
or out in this warring world,
or in a family squabble,
or in the midst of protest,
or on a lake,
or in some legislative chamber under a golden dome,
or in a world groaning under its own weight . . .
if there be peace here, or if there be peace anywhere on earth, then let it begin with me.
Here are six ways you can create peace in your life today:
Serve someone. There’s so much wrong in this world, which makes us angry and sad. As it should! One great way to bring more peace into the world, is to bring a little peace to someone whose life is in turmoil. That’s one powerful way of taking our anger, and turning it into a higher purpose. Find a person or organization near you who could use a bit of the love that you have within your heart.
Heal one piece of the wound within you. It’s hard to “pass the peace” when our insides are in turmoil. Take time this week to tend to your pain. It can feel overwhelming to think about fixing all that aches within you. If necessary, pick one piece, and tend to it. Take that bit of wound to a trusted friend. Pray about it with your pastor. Write it on a slip of paper and burn that paper in your own personal bonfire as way to say, “good riddance.” (Invite a friend and ask her to bring the marshmallows.)
Point out the good you see. Take a picture of something that made you smile, and post it to your social media channels. Of course, there is a time and place for us to use our social media platforms to point out injustice. But there is also a time and place for us amplify the good. Go, therefore, and show us your kittens, sunsets, and cute babies.
Resolve at least one conflict in your life this week. There’s someone who has gotten on your last nerve, or who has stepped on your toes in a major way. The elephant is still in the room. Talk about that elephant, release it into the wild, and then move within that freed-up space toward a resolution.
Forgive someone. Nelson Mandela famously said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” You don’t have to forget, but when you choose to forgive, you have decided to stop drinking the poison.
Find inner peace. There are a lot of places one can go to find peace – a hiking trail, a sanctuary, a resort in Tahiti. But ultimately, the only way we’ll find true peace is when we look to Jesus.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15)
~ Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness DareLeave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Thanks for presenting peace in terms of the unseen and the individual matter of our own heart. You’ve given me homework to do as I wait for the moment when my son trumpets Taps through the cloudy skies here today.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
We’re headed out to the cemetery soon, Michele. We will visit the graves of loved ones, and especially remember Paul, my father-in-law, who served in Vietnam. All of his Agent Orange exposure resulted in a leukemia diagnosis many years later. he died in 2009. We miss him so much. So, I will remember loved ones gone before … while also tending some to some individual matters of the heart, as you put it. Thanks for being here. Have a great day, Michele.
IOLA Adetunji says
Hello, I find my inner peace when I in park near the . I watch the ducks coming on land. Sometimes I take a picture of them. Animals are beautiful to me. And I pray and thank God for giving these things to me.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
“When we’re more concerned about making a point than making peace….” Somehow we think that if we yell loud enough and win the battle of making our point, we will somehow find peace. Like you pointed out, it works the other way around. When we humble ourselves enough to put others needs before our own, when we look to serve rather than to be served, when we look to Jesus, and not what the world offers, to heal our inner hurts, that’s where we find peace. Loved all of your points and the Mandela quote on resentment. Letting go of grudges is perhaps the best gift we could give ourselves in our journey to find peace. Great post, Jennifer!
Have a blessed Memorial Day all,
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Thanks, Bev. I love the Mandela quote, too … and of course, when one considers what he went through, it’s even more profound.
Have a blessed day.
Thanks so much. You have spoken words of healing to my heart today. I can’t be with my Mom this Memorial Day for the first ceremony at the Vereran’s Cemetary where my Dad has been buried, but I can praise my Jesus to bring some peace to my heart.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
So glad these words brought a bit of peace to own heart, Jen. We’re headed to the cemetery soon to remember those we’ve loved, and especially veterans like my father-in-law Paul.
Thank you for these words. I needed this today.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
So glad these words found their way to you, Kathy. Have a blessed day.
Thank you for your words today, your post is both purposeful and practical.
Have a great Memorial Day, and thank you for the sacrifice and service you provide by visiting the cemetery.
Jennifer Dukes Lee says
Heading to the cemetery shortly with our family. I’ll post pictures later on my Instagram of the service.
Yvette Williams says
Thank you, Jennifer, for your this Memorial Day! It reflects what is mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3: 8 “… a time for love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Lynn D. Morrissey says
Thank you so much, Jennifer. I think too often we (I, included) have placed our hopes for peace in politics. Our only hope for peace is in knowing the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus, and then in doing what He says . . . such as what you live and suggest here. We need to make peace with Him first and then as far as it concerns us, live in peace . . . be a living instrument of peace. I’m trying, in part, to do that by not being so argumentative, always feeling I need to have the last word and to be “right,” and to reach out to and spend time with those with whom I disagree (politically and in other ways). I can’t help but think of Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This is what you are advocating here. Goodness, Jennifer, if everyone did this–took care of her own attitudes and actions in humility and followed Jesus by acting as He did, we would all go a long way to helping to bring peace on this planet. And I love how *you* do that!
Love you, and Happy Memorial Day.
Mary Hoff says
Thank you so much JENNIFER for touching my heart this morning. I so need to hear your words and to let them wash over me. I praise the Lord for your sweet heart and your way with words. Have a blessed day.
Excellent sharing! It’s so good. The part you shared about resolving conflict tickles my insides – ‘The elephant is still in the room, talk about that elephant…’. How true it is when we don’t make a decision to let go so we can move on. The quote from Nelson Mandela that said ‘Resentment is like drinking the poison and then hoping that it’ll kill your enemies.’ Cannot imagine what foolishness we’d done to ourselves without thinking wisely. That also means mediating regularly on God’s word to have our minds renewed so we can use the wisdom to live a purposeful life. Thank you very much for most needed inspiration!
I mean meditating not mediating….
Pearl Allard says
Jennifer, may your time today be healing and peace-making. Thank you so much for your examples of what we can do to promote peace — you’ve sparked an idea for me. I’m also finishing a book about the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Seems fitting to remember the Civil War (and all the sacrifices made before and since) to preserve our country’s freedom and unity.
Rebecca L Jones says
Healing a piece of the wound in you, maybe, a piece at a time is what it takes for us.
I just loved your quote from Nelson Mandela. Your 6 ways to bring peace into one’s life have definitely given me some homework. This has been an ongoing issue for many years. God was in this, pointing me to what I need for my “inner turmoil.” Thank you so much!
Praying for everyone who is grieving the loss of a veteran today.
In my country this weekend past, a women’s conference has caused controversy in a way that has filled my Facebook feed with Christian women saying hate filled, angry things at one another. Half of it is caused by misunderstanding, half of it is purely an unwillingness to disagree with grace. It makes me so sad. Praying for peace in this situation, and for women to realise what a horrible witness this is as we tear each other apart.
Theresa Boedeker says
So true. We can’t wait for others to bring us peace; we need to find peace and peruse it our self. Bring peace to our soul and then pass some on.
Beth Williams says
The only way to really have peace is to focus on Jesus. Get your focus off you and the noisy, hectic world around us. They don’t care about us. We can start by serving others-praying, sending cards, emails & just being concerned.
I never thought about making peace with my inner hurts & past regrets. Maybe if we all did this and quit harboring resentment we just might have a little slice of peace in our world!
Meghan E. Weyerbacher says
Such sweet words to my ears and eyes, Jennifer. I love Mother Theresa’s quote as well. May we shine brighter than the dark and may love outlast everything else (as it will!)
Blessings to you,
Susan Shipe says
Jennifer always has a good word and a good perspective. IF there is going to be a speaker of peace? Let it be me. Peace and Truth.
Nancy Ruegg says
How exciting to think that thousands of women who read this blog will be inspired by your peace-making suggestions, Jennifer. We may not be able to erase all conflicts and bring total peace to our planet, but we can make our homes, workplaces, churches, and communities more peaceful. I especially appreciate Suggestion #3 about pointing out the good we see. Photos on social media is a great way; perhaps gratitude and compliments would also qualify. I never considered these actions as contributions to peace, but they do improve the attitude and mood of the recipients. Therefore it makes sense such actions would influence the level of tranquility in their spirits. Let is begin with US at incourage!
Calvonia Radford says
Good morning Jennifer! I love your suggestion, “Take a picture of something that made you smile, and post it to your social media channels. ” I think we should challenge our soical media friends to do this. It would be a pleasant surprise to open facebook to see a sea of picture that make us smile. It sounds like a revoluntionary strategy to me. As you said, “let it began in me”.