I smiled at him as we ate and I thought of all the meaningless arguments we've had over the years, silly fights born of exhaustion and stress, and I was glad for the gift of peace that always eventually settles down our hearts, reminding us that we belong to each other and with each other.
I looked out the family room window at my back lawn and saw a flock of robins - more than I've ever seen together! - busily eating because we've made our peace with weeds and our lawn doesn't have pesticides on it. Yes, all that life that I see in my backyard - the grass, the trees, the robins, the worms, the fat rabbits, the squirrels, the ants and bees, the shy, sly deer who eat my bushes at night all winter, - they belong to us who live in this house. Our lifestyles interconnect us in hidden but irreplaceable ways.
In fact, I thought to myself, peering through those Peace Glasses, all animals, birds, insects, fish, and the tundra, the forests, the deserts, the rain forests, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, the oceans, spanning and encircling all continents - all belong to all of us, our responsibility, to be cared for. We're the smartest ones on the planet. We can make free decisions. So we'd better make the right, peaceful ones for ourselves and our children so all life lives together in harmony and our planet survives.
Later I walked through the back bedrooms, straightening things, and chuckled, remembering when my teens lived in them and they were absolute messes. Back then, my victories happened on those days that I kept my inner peace and calm and realized that I could talk softly, not scream, when I asked them to straighten their rooms - at a mutually agreed-upon time.
Communicating calmly with my teens was more important than exercising my Mother Power at full throttle. After all, they belonged to me more than those messy rooms did. People always belong to us more than things do. Even unborn people, old people, sick people, disabled people.
I curled up on the loveseat and prayed quietly for my family, my friends, my faith community. I know God knows their needs better than I do. But I do know some of what troubles their hearts: physical, mental, emotional illness; divorces and separations; families broken and alienated; loved ones' deaths; financial difficulties. I prayed for them to be healed and upheld in all the ways God desires to take care of them. Whether they have ties to me of blood or ties of friendship, God has placed them in my life. We belong to each other.
I read the morning paper, my eyes wearing Peace Glasses traveling across the local, national, and international news, the names, the faces, of the living and dead. My heart and soul sent love to gently inundate everyone: victims of crimes, criminals, movie stars, small business owners, politicians, soldiers, and peace-marchers. The people who own these names, these faces, don't realize we are spiritual brothers and sisters, belonging to the same family. But I know that they are in this world because my Father God created them - they come from His Hand as surely as I do.
My mind and heart traveled around the world in those pages. Whether the countries we inhabit are friends or enemies, everyone needs my prayers as I need theirs, no matter what language they use for God, or what ritual thy pray in. Or even if they don't pray at all. We belong to each other because we all belong to God. We belong to each other even when our soldiers are killing each other. Killing often enough over who owns the Land.
I thought of the Indian/Native American Peace Pipes, belonging to a people who were almost exterminated by the whites in the U.S. because of Land - Mother Earth - who the Indians knew really belongs to everyone. The pipes used for prayer rituals, the prayers moving in four directions, rising on smoke as many Christians' prayers rise on incense. The pipe bowl, round for eternity, round for the eternal connection of the Creator and Mother/Grandmother Earth and animals and human beings, their mutual belonging, love and need. The pipe, passed from person to person in a ritual still used today, meant as a sign of communion and to establish peace, even passed long ago to the white Government man who used a sign of peace as a sign of deception.
My heart hears cries of hunger, of pain, of anguish, of joy, of love, of wonder filling the earth's atmosphere, floating upward and intermingling. My heart's echoes echo the Heart of God - our God Who yearns for us all, all of creation, to be at peace. Our God Who holds before our eyes what Life was like before sin separated us, tore us apart: " God looked at everything He had made , and He found it very good." (Genesis 1:31.)
Many more people inhabit my heart and my prayer now than ever inhabited this house years ago. But that's as it should be. That's how years of prayer change us. With every decade of life our hearts grow larger, able to hold more lives in love. With every decade of life, our hearts grow deeper, to accommodate more peace. And because we continue to pray to have the courage to speak God's words, our words become more and more words of peace and love, which will eventually travel from soul to soul to encircle the globe.