October 10, 2009

Please, Obama, let there be peace on Earth

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be!
With God as our Father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now.
With ev'ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!

-Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

My earliest associations with the word "peace" come from this song. I know every word, because each year at my elementary school's Christmas concert, the grade six class had the special honour of singing it. At the beginning (or was it the end?) of the concert, the lights would be turned off in the school gym and in they would walk: a solemn single file, each carrying a lit candle.

When my year came I was ready. I was serious. In quiet moments alone I sang the song with tears in my eyes and hope stabbing my heart. The night of the concert, in procession up the aisle, the candlelight was magical and all was right with the world. My 11 year old brain believed that by the time I was grown up, there would be world peace. We'd love each other into cooperation, because we were all equal in the eyes of God. All we had to do is be aware of it and the rest would fall into place.

Sometime in my teen years, I started to feel silly for loving the song so much. At the time I was trying to be all grown up and cringed at my naivety. I wasn't mature enough to understand how privileged I was to have experienced such innocence. I also had a vague feeling that the God in this song wasn't living up to his end of the bargain and was putting an awful lot of pressure on little old me to get the peace ball rolling.

Fast forward to the present. I'm sad to think that there are wars going on, every day, every minute. As a parent, I ache to think of children being subjected to fear, anguish, hunger. I honestly wish I could do more, because the sad irony is that, contrary to the song, I can't influence countries to stop fighting. I can't even pray for them to stop fighting because I am long past the day when I believed that there is someone listening.

On Friday, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded, not for deeds accomplished, but for the message of hope that Obama has instilled in his country and around the world.

I want to see the president live up to his message. With so many people yearning for peace and supporting Obama, perhaps one person can be the starting point for greater world harmony. I want to see Obama's promise of "Yes we CAN" come true on a global scale. My only wish is that this hope that glimmers in my heart will not be stamped out again.

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