Maybe it is in the hum of the bees as they dance in the orchard, maybe it is in the song of the many and varied birds that live here. Maybe it is the size of the moon, or the delicious advent of spring; the feeling of peace is palpable.
Was it hastened by talking to my friend, David Kopitzke on his choice to be a conscientious objector of the Vietnam War and realizing the courage it took to take such a stance? Or maybe it was the way he responded to my question at the end of our interview, “Do you have any regrets?” He brought tears to my eyes when he said, “Yes. I regret that I did not talk to more people about my decision… to help them understand.” And I realized in that moment that we all can live in regret for not talking about the possibility of peace and the ethical and moral ground we stand on… and yet, here he was still talking, still sharing, still operating out of kindness and bravery. And there I was intrigued, inspired and full of respect.
This gift of shared conversation continued as I spoke with the owner our favorite local grocery, Whitaker’s Farm Fresh Market. While I am quite sure we hold beliefs that are seemingly incompatible, we share a passion for peace. As time allows, we squeeze precious moments of kindred spirit between his customers and my list of “to do’s”. I learned today that his parents were married during the Vietnam War and took the position of CO (conscientious objector) as sanctioned by their Christian faith. His eyes were shining, as I am sure were mine as we touched upon the depth of our shared conviction – the need for peace.
In listening to him, I understood what I have thought about for a long time. The voice for and of peace must be heard, at least as often as the voice that proclaims the need for war. There is no need to be shy or to feel regret for what has not been said. Perhaps it has not been the right time, but much has changed and the time to acknowledge and champion peace is upon us.
So go ahead, proclaim your need and your heart’s longing. Each of us uniquely aware, each of us uniquely qualified to speak to the longing of our hearts and to the understandings we hold as living breathing individuals. There is no shame upon the hearts and minds of those who cannot bear arms against their fellow humans. There is no Great Law that has been decreed that war is the only solution. If our warring selves can take the time to recruit and explain away the need to kill, then we should have equal right to stand up for peace and honor the moral ground of those among us not willing to kill.
The only thing stopping us is doubt. Find your peace my friends, and fight like hell. Fight with clarity, fight with kindness and we may find, in fact, this is the greatest action of all – to touch and to cultivate peace.
I am telling you what I hear in the songs of the birds and feel in the gentleness of the warming sun…we got this.
You can listen to my interview with David Kopitzke Thursday, May 18 at 9:00 am CST on WDRT, on the radio or on the web.
For more on becoming a conscientious objector, you can visit Center on Conscience and War. or call TOLL FREE: 1-800-379-2679.
And here are the magnificent words of Julia Ward Howe in her proclamation of peace.