A Bigger Stick

There is a story that I have grown to love. It has become a guiding principle for me. The gist is that there is a king who always tried to stump a member of his court known to be quick witted and not easily tricked. One day the king called to his friend, and laying a stick before him, said, “How can you make this stick shorter without touching it?”

The courtier thought for a moment, went outside and returned with another stick larger than the first. He laid it down next to the shorter stick of the king – thus making the king’s stick smaller without touching it.

It seems we are in a bit of a bind. All around us we see hardship, hatred, destruction and the devaluing of our humanity. This is the short stick.

This is, I think, the stick we are not meant to touch; but how to change it?

Lay a bigger stick. Lay the stick of kindness; lay the stick of peace. Instead of wringing our hands and recounting the fear filled moments we see, or raising our fist to display the anger we feel, perhaps it is our time to lay the bigger stick.

The way out is not always apparent. The ways we have tried have failed.

I am betting on the heart to win, even as the bookies are setting the odds against it. I am “waging love” as my friends in Detroit have proclaimed it.

I am fighting every day to upend my own dark thoughts. I am growing vigilant that my words and actions reflect all that I know is possible – and you know what? – it’s fun.

All my life people have said, “Peace is boring.” My response remains, “Then you have not yet met peace.”

There is no game built that can rival the game of the heart. There is no fan cheering louder for your victory than the cry of your soul to make peace. You want to change the world? Lay a bigger stick.



Photo compliments of MJ Novick

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