Peace Begins With Me!

On our local and global immersive encounters, we will find ourselves quite often sitting in sacred spaces listening to peacemakers who know or have known the heart ache of oppression and injustice. We listen and learn and are transformed by their stories. But, we also learn from each other as trip participants in the sacred spaces of sharing our own thoughts, stories, and disruptions. Dr Charity Byers recently was a part of a pilgrimage with Amplify Peace and her insights not only on the trip but since has been invaluable. We want to share a little of her thoughts here.

From Dr. Byers:

Through my experience on a recent Israel/Palestine trip with Amplify Peace, I was challenged to engage in messiness rather than retreat. To become a peacemaker, I learned that you have to be willing to step into the messiness of misunderstandings, longstanding hurts, and conflicts that seem unfixable. I was reminded that we have to lean into hope that may supersede what our own life experience says is possible to be true peacemakers.

I was also reminded that as you try to face conflict in the world, you will face conflict within. You really have to make peace within before you can bring peace to others. There are more barriers within that we often realized keeping us from the posture of peace. Maybe it’s anxiety that makes approaching conflict feel intolerable. Maybe it’s the impact of trauma that says forgiveness is unsafe. Or maybe it’s personal rejection that keeps a bitter lens from softening into compassion.

What begins as a small change within—a new perspective, a softer heart, a willingness to listen, or getting over a fear of the unknown—ripples out into the life that is lived. More compassion for others leads to bridges in relationships. Desire to understand more than being understood leads to rewriting the narrative of the other. Willingness to put down defenses leads to unity. All of that truly has the power to build into global impact.

I was encouraged by my experience to keep fighting for the posture of peace within me and in the hearts of those around me so that we can let peace be amplified from within us to the world.

Dr. Charity Byers serves as Executive Director of Clinical Services for Blessing Ranch. Learn more about Blessing Ranch here: https://www.blessingranch.org/index.cfm