“If you establish serenity and happiness inside yourself, you provide the world with a solid base of peace. If you do not give yourself peace, how can you share it with others? If you do not begin your peace work with yourself, where will you go to begin it?” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” The 14th Dalai Lama
Today, I received a holiday card saying “Thank you for being such a good Mom to our girl.”
I have learned making peace takes time. I want to stand witness to the shift toward peace I have lived since my legal separation from the father of my child, in case it can give hope to anyone else facing a similar situation.
We went from being unable to sit in the same room or communicate with one another without a lawyer and years of unpleasantness to being able to communicate about our child’s needs, compromise on scheduling, and even sit in a counseling session as a family for the first time.
The only car bumper sticker I have ever had reads “Peace, an idea whose time has come,” and a search for internal peace has probably been my biggest life yearning. Yet I chose to marry a soldier. In the years before we crossed paths, he was making nuclear weapons while I was protesting them. I chose poorly for my soul, for the core of who I am, and married for all the wrong reasons: He was the first to ask, everyone I knew was getting married by 30, marriage represented stability to me, I was lonesome, and he was generous to me. The biggest gift of our time together aside from our amazing child was travel. . . I was able to see Alaska, Florida Keys, Hawaii, Slovenia, Austria, Germany.
After a decade, he has finally returned the last of some belongings of mine that got caught up in the separation, and to me that symbolizes snipping the emotional attachments that have felt strangling at times. He has come to terms with some of his issues, and I am not the same naive 29-year-old he first met. I feel we are at a new chapter of cooperation to work toward what is best for our child and that is huge, regardless of a tense past.
A lot of prayer to higher selves (his and mine) in the face of unpredictable, sometimes bizarre behavior, a lot of visualizing safe boundaries and standing in my own power helped me get here. The only cosmic reason that makes any sense for our bonding is our fabulous child, and for that I am grateful we crossed paths and am hopeful for a future of peaceful, if limited, interaction.
I read somewhere that the day when the technology of peace overcomes the technology of war, war will be obsolete. I sure hope that day arrives for the sake of everyone, including all the soldiers and soldiers’ families who are sacrificing themselves for it.