Peace, according to A Student’s Dictionary, means 1)a period of harmony among nations when there is no war and 2) a calm ordered condition. It is believed that peace is a derivative of the Latin word pax meaning “freedom from civil disorder.” It is also used as a farewell in many countries of the world especially in death (rest in peace).
There are many definitions or beliefs about peace and what it means to the world as a whole as well as to an individual. I was going to write more about it in that context, but the more I sit and listen to the sounds in my own home, the more I realize that peace isn’t something that can really be studied. The idea of peace and the history behind its use throughout the world can be studied. It has been in the past, it is being done in the present and I have little doubt that it will continue to be done far into the future. Mankind is curious and we want to know things; I seriously doubt that will change on its own.
But I also believe that there are some things that can’t really be studied and can’t really be measured. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe that they exist, just that humankind just isn’t able to measure them.
It puts me in mind of Terry Pratchett’s The Hogfather. During the course of the book (though I’m more familiar with the movie adaption) they are trying to find out why a ‘mythical’ creature has gone missing and new ones are being created. What the plot in the movie or book isn’t what I’m thinking about, though. What I’m thinking about is a conversation between Death and Susan near the end of the movie/book:
AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THELITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THENSHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY.”
I believe that peace is something that you have to find for yourself and create around you in order for it to be real. In the end, only you can really know if what you have found is peace for you. you can offer to share it with another, but even then, it is your peace and not their’s that is being spoken about. While they might be able to find rest in your peace for a time, until they are able to find and keep some of their own peace inside, it will ultimately leave them once they have left you.
Peace isn’t an absence of something, not for me. It is being filled with the knowledge that I’m not alone here on Earth. I have Someone with me at all times that loves me even when I screw up so badly, no one else will even look at me. It is knowing that there are others like me who feel the same way or at least close enough to know what I’m talking about.
It is being in a home with my family all around me, maybe some of them aren’t in the same room or even doing the same thing together, but they are there. They are my family and I love them and I know that they love me. We may not always like one another, but liking someone and loving them isn’t the same thing. I’d go into that, but we’re not talking about that at the moment, we’re talking about peace. Still, I needed to mention it because in my mind peace and love are intrinsically linked. You cannot have one without having the other.
I know peace and I know chaos. I know that you cannot have one without having experienced the other at some point in time. How would you recognize it if you hadn’t been able to experience its counterpart? A lot like knowing the difference between sunlight and moonlight.
On a lighter note, peace is also that feeling you have when a fussy baby FINALLY lays down for their nap. That nap doesn’t have to be overly long, just long enough for you to breath.
This was written for this week’s Dungeon prompt: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2013/10/24/dungeon-prompts-week-11-peace-just-a-word-what-does-it-mean-to-you/