Praying for the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding: Everyday Magic, Day 807

On Facebook, at the grocery store, and even in my own kitchen, discussions heat up about the Israeli bombing of Gaza, and the Hamas missiles into Israel. Some friends and family remind me how much Hamas started it, firing the missiles, some homemade and some with longer-than-usual range capacity, sent to the Gaza by Iran. Some friends and family point out how Israel started it long ago or baited Hamas recently, and is now killing civilians — children and adults — in mosques, disability institutions, and homes. So many of those posting or speaking their responses present strong evidence for how Hamas is actually encouraging civilians to shield bombs and other weaponry, or how Israel needs to shut down the attacks for once and for all. There are also reports on how there are no safe places for people living in the Gaza, and no support for a cease-fire.

My heart goes out to those in the Gaza, facing big losses already, and waiting for what Israel’s Haaretz’s news called “the slaughterhouse.” My heart also goes out to all who faced ongoing fear, trauma, and danger, summed up (from Israel’s point of view) in Haaretz here:

During the years of Hamas rule in Gaza, the same sickening cycle of violence has repeated itself endlessly. Rockets are fired into Israel by Hamas or its proxies, Israel’s army responds, a ceasefire is reached, quiet prevails for a limited time, and then Hamas begins the cycle all over again. In the meantime, the world becomes accustomed to a higher level of violence, Israeli civilians in the south continue to be terrorized, and Israeli children continue to be traumatized. And the reach of the rockets continues to expand, to the point where more than a third of Israel’s population is now in range.

I would add to this that often, the fight is more than lopsided, with Palestinians suffering enormous losses, such as right now with over 160 killed.

I believe in the necessity of a secure and sustainable Jewish homeland, something my study of the Holocaust reinforced tenfold. I also believe in the need for a Palestinian homeland, although I’m certainly no expert on the details to make and keep each in peace and respect for all. My beliefs, as well as most of the beliefs I encounter lately, are controversial or obvious, depending on who you’re talking to; at the same time, this is a tender time for anyone with an open heart and/or whose tribe (like mine) is involved in this.

Given that there’s no clear, feasible (at least, according to what we see in many news sources), and long-term answer to such extensive pain, loss and trauma, I don’t have an answer except to listen to each other with respect and as open a mind (and heart) as possible, read widely from diverse sources (from Haaretz to Al Jezeera to the BBC to other sources — at least, that’s what works for me), and to seek, work for, and imagine the peace that passes all understanding.

I’ll also be praying for our daughter, who is flying to Israel tonight on a Birthright trip — an educational, historic and cultural trip for Jewish youth — as she sets foot in the holy land to see for herself some of what life is like in Israel right now. And praying for all the sons and daughters who don’t have the privilege of travel and exploration.

P.S. If you share comments, please do so respectfully. I know this is a charged issue for many of us.

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3 responses to “Praying for the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding: Everyday Magic, Day 807

  1. Your P.S. reminded readers to respond respectfully. The first instruction on my Doctor’s appointment preparation was to treat other patients and staff with respect and kindness. Growing up in rural Kansas over sixty years ago, my expectation of others and self was good manners.

    Civility, conversations that include listening, and real efforts to make peace rather than “win” at all costs seem to be our stumbling blocks to a world community solving earth’s issues (melting ice caps, clean water, war, food distribution). I see starving children and wonder why we are buying guns. I hear another mother has lost a son on a battlefield and I wonder why we buy missiles rather than college scholarships.

    Our humanity is as fragile as the next words out of our mouths.

    Worldwide the quality of our lives would change if we voted for the most reasonable voice rather than the loudest, angriest voice on the campaign trail. Listening with our hearts rather than our fear would solve most civility issues.

    I like to hear your voice. Thank you.

  2. So well said, Caryn. I send prayers every day and will now fold our beautiful Natalie into the mix. Thank you too, Ann for your clear and excellent ideas!

  3. My heart goes out to the innocent ones on both sides. As a Christian, I believe we are to pray for peace and be at peace with others as far as possible. But Israel has a right to defend herself, and the terrorists are too fond of using civilians for their ends. Having studied both Old and New Testament prophecy, I don’t see a true and lasting peace on earth until the return of Jesus Christ, which may be sooner than we think. Meanwhile, God provides grace to endure all of life’s hardships. May He put a hedge of protection around your daughter while in Israel. What a great opportunity for her! I enjoyed meeting you in Independence, Caryn, and would like to hear about future poetry events in SE Kansas.