And Let it Begin With Me
Last week I attended a concert with my husband, who was one of the performers on the program. The concert ended with everyone in the auditorium holding hands and raising voices together to sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I was immediately transported back to my childhood where I first learned this song. The same emotions surfaced that night as they did so many years ago; the feeling that if we would all just adhere to the words of that poignant song all would be well in our world.
I decided to research the composing of the song, and learned that it was written in 1955 by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson. In the words of Sy “One summer evening in 1955, a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California Mountains locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment – ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,’ helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding.” * When they completed the workshop, they began to share the song with hopes of spreading peace to the world.
Fast forward sixty years to our world today. Every time I turn on the evening news, I literally get knots in my stomach. It means realizing that the most mundane events – a dinner out, a trip to the movie theater, attending a sporting event – have become targets for those who desire to disrupt our peaceful existence. No one appears to be immune to the evil in our world, and at times I can’t even bring myself to think about it.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Would you agree that those word still ring as true today as they did when they were written? But, “let it begin with me?” How?” I questioned. And here’s what I came up with:
- Encouraging peace within my family. Sometimes just taking a moment before I respond can make all the difference. Also, the tone of my voice can either encourage or discourage a peaceful environment in my home. And finally, making an attempt to see the other point of view can facilitate peace in our relationships.
- Encouraging peace within my workplace. It is so easy to get caught up in negativity. Simply avoiding even one opportunity to criticize a co-worker can help foster peace. Specifically to my own situation, I work with children every day who probably go home to an environment that is anything but Showing them how to remain calm and loving could make a huge impact on them.
- Encouraging peace within my city. I’m as quick as anyone to get frustrated with poor service at a restaurant, or yell at the driver in front of me for “fighting life” as they creep along. That kind of behavior fosters animosity and anger; not peace. Trying to realize that the person waiting on me is doing their best under less-than-ideal circumstances, or being more patient with other drivers would go a lot farther toward encouraging peace in my corner of the world.
There are many things in this world that I have absolutely no control over. World peace is one of them. But peace in my home, in my workplace, where I live…..at least it’s worth a try. The final words in Let There Be Peace on Earth bear repeating:
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now
With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
This song inspired all of my decorating this year. My mantle tree and wall have the word peace. I bought every peace Christmas ornament that I could buy. I am taking them from my tree, and attaching them to presents that leave our house. I hope it begins with me and passing it on to others. Susan may peace be with you this new year!
I’d love to see pictures of your mantle tree and other decorating! What a great idea! And thank you — with you and yours as well.