Sow with the Intent to Reap
“When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and fewer people believe that righteous ends justify violent means.” -The Righteous Mind
From the first time I read this sentence many months ago, it stayed with me. Many similar words regularly pass through my mind as I move in and out of Israel and Palestine: peace, competing, ideology, balance, accountability, righteous, just, violent. Is world peace overrated? Is peace a word that has lost its meaning, stripped of action, instead envisioned as a passive, tranquil goal?
Many of the words we hear and read about peace are full of well-wishes but lacking in life. Words are meant to be breathed into action. If we want peace, do we not have to actively place one foot in front of the other, seeking it, pursuing it? I often hear
“Of course I [or we] want peace,
but they [insert any sort of disparaging comment expressing our moral superiority].”
“I wish there was something I could do,”
and we go on with our lives and do nothing. I’m weary of these statements, partially because I’ve been guilty of saying and thinking them too. Right hopes and intentions are important, but fruitless if we do not sow with the intent to reap. Seeking peace is not seeking an end of difference and competition, but an environment where we can disagree in the context of relationship.
Think of your most meaningful relationships. Are there not measures of competing ideologies involved, stimulating each other to think creatively, deeply and carefully? One such relationship is mine with my spouse, and while we have similarities in our worldviews, we are certainly two individuals with incredibly different personalities.
On our best days, I hope we complement each other and demonstrate the ebb and flow of a healthy, loving relationship to our children. My husband gives our children some of the best qualities he has, many qualities I sorely lack. It is my hope (and goal) to model for my children my best qualities, some of which I know they would never get from him. On our worst days, we can believe that winning the argument or proving our rightness is the end justified by our unkind or unfair means. Nearly a decade of marriage has taught me that a peaceful relationship for us is one where we can hear each other’s differences, keep them in check by reminding and practicing an accountability of kindness, and seeking to grow together, rather than win alone.
For me, seeking peace cannot be an idea. Our words require action. I’m done with well-wishes for something better. A friend once told me that a message must go from our head, to our heart, to our hands. I want to sow with the intent to reap. If we wish it, if we want it, it cannot remain a dream.