Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to the 2014 BlogBlast For Peace! We hope you are finding inspiration and joy all over the blogosphere today. Please leave your link in the Mr.Linky below so that others may find your work. You can even post your Facebook links below in the comment section too. Many people are using Facebook and Twitter instead of blogs this year. Go to our Fan Page and see over 25,000 on the peace page today. You may post your link there as well. Thank you for being here. This is my story for peace day.

Come To The River ~ Words in The Hands of Love

He was hobbling along on the side of the road with a long brown cane in his left hand and a gray plastic bag in the other. Trying to stay on the shoulder and out of traffic. I rounded the curve just in time to see him wobble a bit and just in time to make a split second decision. I pulled into the abandoned parking lot and drove directly toward him as he stepped onto the asphalt left behind by the once thriving and now out-of-business restaurant.  When my car met his left foot, he stopped with a wide-eyed startled jolt. 
(Really, Mimi, said the voice of my mother…what are you doing?)

 Never mind that picking up strangers on the side of the road is on my NEVER-TO-DO list. Never mind that I am known as the resident Suzie Safety wherever I go. Never mind that. I didn’t plan this ya know. I was just following the muse. And the muse said clear as day this morning, “Go to the river and write.”  That’s why I was in my car in the first place on the eve of Dona nobis pacem day. Are you following me? It is all the Muse’s fault.  Never in all my years of peace blogging has she said go anywhere but my own backyard. But this year was different.  And here I am with a strange elderly man in an abandoned parking lot in the middle of town. What’s he gonna do? Hit me with a cane? I sized him up. I can take him, I thought. He can’t run. If worse comes to worse, I’ll grab the cane and jump in my car.  I’ve got this. 
(Really Mimi, said the voice of my mother….are you insane?)

“Do you need a ride home?” I asked. He looked confused. “Is your house near here? I will take you home if you’d like.”  Confusing stare. Then the arm-waving started (mine, not his) Maybe he’s hard of hearing. “DO. YOU. NEED. A. RIDE…..?” 
“Espanol. Espanol.”
“No speak English?”
“No.” Thank goodness for that Italian arm-waving gene of mine. Singing “Noche de Pas” was out of the question so I threw out all the Spanish words I knew that I could string along into a sentence-  yo gracias amigo trabajar siempre amiga amigas por favor padre madre adios bueno ninito Jesus si no gracias todo duerme casa maestra escuela otro usted si no coremos (that was unlikely) canta (!) plus mucho anunciando and hola! That’s about all I could think of at the moment. Does that make sense to you? No wonder it took five minutes for me to explain that I didn’t want to harm him. I didn’t know the word for kidnap.  I was only offering a ride.  My mind was aflutter and so were my arms. That way? Far? Left right? Why, oh why, did I fall asleep in Spanish class?

 Aha! Donde! Donde casa? Qui?
“Si! Si!”
He waved his cane in an easterly direction and I opened the car door.  Finally. Communication. I was exhausted

I looked in the backseat as he buckled up. He looked scared. 
 He was still firmly holding the cane and clutching his grocery bag straight through the first light.  I said, “I will drive des-pa-cio (like I thought he couldn’t understand it?)!” (I was so proud of myself for remembering the word for slowly.) He nodded in agreement.  I drove despacio through the second light.
I heard “No. Condominium.” 
Oh, you live in the condominiums??!
 “Si!” he nodded with a smile. I turned left into the complex. 
“NO!” I heard from the backseat. “C.o.n.d.o.m.i.n.i.u.m.s” and gestured that I should turn around.  Wrong complex. I backed into the highway as he looked warily into oncoming traffic.  
“Rapido! Rapido!” I screamed. 
We laughed. Luckily, no one died. 
  Another right turn, lots more arm-waving and two dead stops in the middle of the road only to hear Yours Truly brilliantly slaughter Spanish with a nice man who probably wished by now that he’d just hit me with his cane.  I finally understood that he lived across from the condominiums in a cute little white house with a lovely wooden porch. We had driven a couple of miles by now. I pulled in and he got out.  He looked happy (and relieved) to be home. It would have taken him another hour walking with that cane.  Smiling from the backseat “Gracias! Gracias!”
“God bless you, Sir. Mucho blessings. Adios!”

And I thought that was the end of it really. Just a short little ride and he’s gone. Right? 
No. (Did you know that “no” is the same in Spanish and English?)
The car door slammed and I waited for him to shuffle out of the way. Why don’t I do this more often? It took 15 minutes out of my day. Why don’t I? What a wonderful feeling. What is wrong with me? This is the most awesome day ever!! 

 Then I heard a knock knock on the passenger window. He was waving with his cane-free hand in a kind of salute-wave from the forehead, almost military-style and nodding vigorously.  “Muuuuchas Muuuchas gracias. Mucho mucho mucho gracias!”

 And because this was a muse-inspired moment I did what any proper pencil skirt would do; I blew an air kiss (universal languages I know). It wasn’t about the muchos muchos so much as the look I saw in his beautiful dark-brown eyes. I didn’t need a dictionary for that.  
That I understood. 

Come to the river said the muse…

And that is the look we all know. Deep down in the waters of our souls, we know it.  There is no barrier strong enough to unravel connections that happen in the most ordained of haphazard days. They aren’t haphazard at all. 
 I want more of those days…when I am in the driver’s seat. Making conscious decisions to go out of my way for the important things. Stopping for him was the most important thing I did all day. Imagine how much richer my life would be if I multiplied that fifteen minute detour even three times a day? I have to remind myself to be open and aware. To stop the car, get out, and open the door. Grace will fly right in the backseat and take up residence with a cane if you just remember to instead of rapido. It is something my grandfather would have done. It was the way he lived his life. 
Come to the river, said the muse…

I drove through my town and looked around. Really looked around. Pockets of poverty everywhere. Houses about to fall down. I have never seen my town the way my eyes saw it today. 

 But I was not about to argue with the muse. I went on down to the river because the muse said go.  

 “Peace is not a final destination. Peace is the road too,” whispered the muse.

But sometimes we face situations when our words matter so deeply to the people we love that they can even mean the difference between life and death. Rewind.

One night not long ago, a young man asked me a question, “I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like giving up.”
We sat outside on a crisp fall night. The moon was shining and the stars twinkled above us.  Around the tenth perpetual disappointment in his life, he was ready to give in. So he looked to me on this night.  I felt woefully inadequate when he said, “Tell me. What should I do?”
 He needed an answer. I needed one too.
There’s something about that water…
The longest twenty seconds ticked by as he peered into my eyes awaiting my response. On the inside of me I tried to conjure the right answer, praying for help myself, because this answer had to be right. Although I knew his decisions had to be his and his alone, this answer had to be right.
And so I said the lamest thing.
“You just have to wake up again tomorrow morning and put one foot in front of the other.” (really, Mimi? That’s all you’ve got?) You have to remember that each morning the slate is clean. You get up and try again. Even if the way is dark and you don’t know where you’re going. You keep doing that. Just walk.”
I went home and cried for him. My heart was full of fear. I needed to know that my words mattered. 
Later that same night I got a strange text from a number I didn’t recognize. It said, “I need to thank you for something you did for me many years ago that has now come full circle in my life. Can I call you?”
Before I could type ‘Who is this?’…I read  “Oh! This is your brother! LOL”
The last time I really talked to my little brother was at my dad’s funeral five years ago. It was not what I would call a good conversation. I dialed.
“Hi Sis! It’s so good to hear your voice. I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately and I want to tell you some things.”
And then he went into how his life had settled down, how he’d found his spiritual center, become a Christian, and was finding meaning and purpose in a small country church where he lived and wanted to tell me that his baptism would be next week.  
“I finally know what it means to have a relationship with God,” he said. “I am so happy. I’ve never felt so peaceful before.”  
  Did I mention that he bears Papa’s middle name?

Papa’s hymnal
 “About twenty-five years ago you gave me a Bible. Do you remember?”
“Mmmaybe….kind of….well, I suppose I did, yes.”

“How could you forget? You put stickie notes all in it! You gave me a brand new Bible full of stickie notes, Sis.”  
“Ohhh….” (yep. That sounds like me)

 “The preacher started talking about the book of Acts and directed us to read a certain verse. I felt a chill because I’d read it before. It was one of your stickie note verses. I just want to thank you and tell you how much I love you.”
“Ohhh….” (see how lame my responses are lately, my Bloggy People?)

And then I remembered how much I needed peace myself on this night. How I needed to know things would be alright. That full-circle moments are sent by the hand of God. That what I’d just told that young man under the stars was the truth and not lame at all.

 That somehow words you forgot you wrote make their way into the hands that need them. And back to your own.

Sometimes grace stops on the side of the road in a split-second. 
Sometimes it waits twenty-five years.
Words you see…words in the hands of love. He held my words for twenty-five years. Those words came back to me in the very moment I needed them most.  Words.
So, you see…words are powerful. Our words. My words. Your words. Words. Connections are made with words. Through broken English and rolled-up car windows. Hearts are healed with words. Hearts can be broken and hurt with words. Hearts are again healed with words.
 Measure them with the yardstick of love.
If it takes baptism in your Holy of Holies, then baptize yourself in whatever water you choose. But don’t expect to rise up out of the dirty water you left without a care in the world.

Even if you can’t see the way. Just walk.

  There is always someone there to guide you.

 Know what love would say. 
Then go do what love would do.


  come to the river said the muse….

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Dona Nobis Pacem

Welcome to BlogBlast4Peace 2012. Thank you for blogging peace with us today. Do check back for updates and visit our Facebook Fan Page where there are thousands blogging for peace from 152 countries. Tag me with your peace globe. We will tag and share around the world. Be sure to sign the Linky List at the bottom of this post or in a comment. Happy Peace Blogging today! Visit, visit, visit.

Today is my grandfather’s birthday. There is no better way to honor him. He was the most peaceful person I ever knew.

 My Peace post is called The Dream: Trees In The Courage of Time
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Dona Nobis Pacem ~ The Cabinet

Something led me to the potting shed this morning. So, I put on some leaf-walking shoes to follow the muse.

It is clear and beautiful in Bloggingham today with a bit of breeze and the sound of falling acorns. Leaves are changing faster than I’d like for it’s only a matter of time before they lay bare and naked the strength of my trees, losing their protection and grace.

For weeks now I’ve thought of spring. Remembering scenes in my life that happened – only – in springtime. I wondered why. The images so strong as if I were re-living them again. I could smell spring. Touch spring. In my chilly foggy forest surroundings, a season I love most of all, I needed, I suppose, to feel spring.
So on my way to the potting shed I stopped at my patch of wild mums and descended upon them with the camera lens. They were waiting like old friends to give me a breath of spring.

But back to the muse. The shed the shed shed. I must get to the shed. 
Just inside the door of the little building in my grove of trees and overgrown wildness…is this

It belonged to my Papa. It was his tool cabinet. It hung on the wall of the garage where he made things and sawed things and stored things in it; including the secret stash of chewing tobacco in a can in the corner beside nails and rags and oilcans. He made picture frames and tables, stools and odd furniture pieces. I made mud pies and tried to leave him be while he measured and thought hard.  It was a steady stream of stirring inedible cuisine (some things have not changed, my friends), him spitting in the can while I tried not to look, sawdust, the swing of the hammer and the sound of my grandmother’s voice trying to shout above the bzzzz bzzzz saw that supper was ready and we’d better wash up.
He’d scoop me up in his grease covered arms and let me do my favorite thing of all: I got to close the wooden latch.

Opening it today without the benefit of hugs and the promise of butter biscuits was bittersweet. But something had led me to the shed today and I aimed to open it.

Hmmmm…not much left in here except spider webs and dirt. A very old can of something to do with grease, some iron rings, a few nails…and a brand new water hose head I bought last spring lying on the bottom shelf.

How did that get in there? I didn’t put it there.

At that moment a large gust of wind starting spinning Bloggingham’s trees above the A-line roof of the shed, branches swaying heavily above me soaring and tall in the blue sky while the bam bam bam of acorn bullets descended upon the roof at the same time above my head. Yow! It scared me so I ran out the door. Find the wild mum patch, Mimi! Mums aren’t scary. Don’t you go back in that building. That was a sign I tell ya, a sign!

Go back in, silly, it’s just the wind.

OK. But only because you’re a droopy mum and need cheering up. I’ll go back.

I crushed a few acorns with my leaf-walking shoes and went back inside. Reaching into the deep storage shelf on the bottom, I gingerly removed the out-of-place water spout and laid it elsewhere. But what I saw underneath startled me so that I ran out again. This time stopping in the yard to put my face in hands, tears on my face with memories of dusty nails flying into walnut, pine and oak, now pounding in my mind as I wondered….

How did THAT get in there?

It was Papa’s hammer.

All tools near and far were lost in the divorce, gathered from this cabinet and absconded with the swish of a legal pen.  I never saw this before. His hammer. His hammer. How could I have missed it?  His hammer. Why hadn’t I seen it before? How long had it been there? No logical answers could I find, even after a phone call to said absconder-of-the-tools. He didn’t remember it being there either. “I’m sure I cleaned everything out of that cabinet,” he said. No matter. It’s peace day ya know.  It doesn’t matter how it got there. But I have no doubt I was supposed to find it.

We might need a hammer you know.

To be builders of peace it isn’t enough to declare it so, will it so, pray it so or blog it so. In between the words, which indeed are powerful ideas and mantras, we have an arsenal of tools at our disposal just begging to be utilized for good.  Some have been lying around for years but all we want to do is talk about them. We’re too busy sometimes to actually pick up a nail and pick a spot – any spot – to inhabit peacefully in our world. To make it better for someone we don’t even know. We don’t see that the lack of connectedness in one person brings the whole planet into a state of perpetual lack. And how one area of unrest brings the whole planet into jeopardy.  Cause I’m here to tell ya…it’s easy to cohabitate peacefully with people you love. But it’s darn near impossible to build peace with perfect strangers across a ragged world of war.
Yet peace builders we must be with weapons of saws and plowshares.

And let’s throw in some beauty, shall we?

It isn’t enough to elevate people in dire need with food and clothing and somewhere-out-of-a-cardboard-box. They need – we all need – artists and writers and painters and dancers to lift our spirits to a place far beyond the basic tenets of existence. I never saw my grandfather’s day end without a book in his hand, a song playing on the stereo
or a Spring in his smile. 

In the meantime…we need sowers of seeds for crops of food and medicine, laboring hands to shingle roofs, diggers of wells and drillers of land, mattocks and shovelers, sweepers of oceans and singers to soothe those who can’t understand this peace you say in front of their hungry children.  We have to pick them up – these building tools –  and make them happen in our homes and communities before we can expect anyone to buy into a word we’re saying on the subject of peace. Then and only then can we call ourselves peacemakers. In my own personal space of planet Earth I will hold myself to that standard.   I will try. I will try. But I don’t believe it will take the world as long to arrive at the inevitable wisdom of peace as it did to lunge into the abyss of universal war.  It seems to me that the tide of consciousness and awareness is turning.

But it won’t last unless we get out of the realm of consciousness-raising and into the physical realm of working the work with more than manifestos. You all know how firmly I believe that words are  powerful – but they are not the only tools we have. I have no trouble nailing my purpose to the plate with words.  It is who I am. It’s a bit more daunting to get my skirt dirty with your problems when I have a world of my own.

Have you ever noticed that in the cold dead winter of warring with someone, there comes a time when you just get tired of warring and you wonder, “Isn’t there a better way?” Do I think there are people hellbent on destruction for the sake of destruction? Yes. Do I see and understand that not everyone in the world wants to go searching for spring? Yes. But I have to hope that somehow deep down even in the hearts of evil men lies a human seed of desire for survival. And if they can’t reach peace for any other reason than that, then so be it.  Because we’re on a collision course that peace treaties and scribbled sanctions can’t fix. The heart of man has to change…and that is nothing akin to changing our minds. It goes as deep as long-grained wood. That brand of human evolution requires that we sometimes allow the other person to open the door and sometimes we  must allow them to lift us up to reach the door.

When my grandfather began a new project, he first chose the strongest of materials, the most sturdy wood. He knew that to lay a foundation on anything else was a waste of time. He knew that building things without the proper tools was a recipe for destruction.   Then he threw in his ingredients: Solitude. Contemplation. Pride. Patience. Hard work. And a sense of service. He didn’t build things to sell. Giving them away gave him great pleasure.

 I was reminded by a friend today that it’s good to use the tools of our fathers and grandfathers. There is something organic about it. I hope as the world churns and turns toward a new season, that we don’t discard the hard-won sacrifices made before our time nor the wisdom those experiences bring to the table of peace building.

It is not enough that we learn to unmake war. 
We must learn to remake peace.

Wanna borrow my hammer? 
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Peace Globe #2146 ~ Mimi Writes

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Peace Globe #1 (revisited ) Mimi Lenox

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Founder, BlogBlast For Peace (2006)
I remember the day I scribbled this signature on a template. I never dreamed that today we would have 53 countries participating and thousands of bloggers and folks on social networking sites blogging the peace.  Thank you for your continued care and support.
Carry on. What a wonderful sight.

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