what shines brightest

I haven't always been a peacemaker. I used to be a peacekeeper. I hoarded peace like a child with his Christmas stocking full of Andes Mints and Pez candy dispensers. I kept peace to myself, sure that if I could pet it, and feed it, and care for it, it would stick around. I kept it like a kept girl, made it work for me, paid its wages at the altar of hiding in groups and keeping relationships at arms length. I kept peace by repeating after myself that I was not at fault for the grenades flying over my head or the words flung across wooden tables or down long hallways.

Romans 12:18 says to live peaceably with all and, well, I have tried to do that. No one can accuse me of bringing wrecking balls into life's infrastructures in the past decade. No sir.

Tonight I think about the rest of that verse, though, or rather, the beginning of it: If possible. So long as it depends on you. Then live peaceably with all.

If possible. Meaning: when all other outlets have been explored, when I have sorted through the cans and wills and dos and don'ts of possibility. When I have exhausted improbability and taken no thought for the bullets colliding through my unchinkable armor. When I have braced myself for the fall that will inevitably come when I am most certainly misunderstood and when I am blacklisted from here til kingdom come. When it is possible, do it.

Stop writing the rebuttal. Don't blog the discourse. Don't preach to the choir or to the vagrant in the back row on whom you have your [plank-filled] eye.

Why? Because it's possible. It's possible for you to shut up, pursue peace.

So long as it depends on you. Meaning, and don't miss this: the world will spin madly on.

Eliza Doolittle sung a bit of theology for us all when she sang to Prof Higgins, "And without much ado we can all muddle through without you." So as long as we hold the beautiful ability to pursue peace with all men, we ought to. So long as it depends on us, we should trust that our meddling in affairs that bring an end to peace, well, people die on hills like that and we wade through the carnage for centuries.

Tonight I sat in a room with some beautiful people and we shared some broken things, some carnage, places where we didn't pursue peace or where someone didn't pursue peace and we were the wreckage left behind.

But here is the beautiful part of that: wreckage will be left while we wander this earth, but what's ultimately left, when the All Consuming Fire has come and burned away everything but what shines brightest, what shines brightest will be the Prince of Peace and we add nothing to that beauty with our earthly bickering.