Sunday, 23 January 2011

Peace and war - love and awe

I’m now beginning my 21st year of working for Northern Friends Peace Board. This also coincides with the beginning of the first Gulf War and the birth of our first son. I have a strong memory of feeling his movements one morning as he fidgetted around inside his mother whilst I listened to the radio news coverage in which a reporter was likening the bombing of Bagdad to a firework display. We would more recently be presented with the term ‘shock and awe’, and these twin emotions were certainly with me that morning. Shock at what was unfolding in Iraq and awe at the prospect of becoming a parent in just a few weeks.

I heard recently of the term ‘Awe and wonder’, which is used in the educational world to describe a goal of encouraging imagination and awareness amongst children. Imagination is so important in our lives together. William Penn set the simple challenge to ‘Let us then try what love will do’. Love and our attempts to put it into practical action, are for me at the heart of what peace work is about and at the heart of what being a parent is about.

Alongside love, I am in awe of the great potential and example that so many ordinary people have shown me for making creative contributions for a better world. But also in shock at the continued capacity for hurt and for uncaring that manifests itself from the personal to the global scale. I give thanks for those who have inspired and supported me over the years in this work, ensuring that it is rooted in love and awe and still able to be shocked.