As a person of faith, I’ve always been challenged by a verse that says, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace”. I consider this my mandate.
But don’t mistake peace-keeping for peace-making.
Peace-keeping keeps factions apart with no expectation of resolution. It’s maximum effort expended in a passive, zero sum game. It reinforces apathy, privilege and anger.
Me? I’m a peace-maker. The very act of making peace—and making peace, and making peace—is dynamic and potent, shining a light where inequality and injustice rob people of true peace.
Peace-making drives me to lean in and bear witness to people’s stories with compassion and empathy.
It compels me to respond with strategies and actions that can create lasting change.
It urges me to have uncomfortable conversations to elicit greater understanding.
It impels me own my blind spots so I can grow in gentleness—and, in turn, create even greater peace.
There’s nothing passive about being a peace-maker, and peace-making never ends.
In fact, as I consider the broken world my children are now entering as young adults, my peace-making is only increasing in volume—as is my understanding that peace is a human right and that, as far as it depends on me, I must give it voice and life.
And so I do.
By Suzanne Oxford as part of International Women’s Day 2021