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September Peace Quest - On My Way

I’m on my way to Rome, the first stop on my September peace quest. I’ll spend the night in a monastery, then the next two nights in Assisi, to centre myself for the rest of the trip.

Walls are the metaphor for this trip. I’ve been fascinated by walls since my trip to Israel and Palestine last November. The separation wall made a big impact on me, and I’ve been dreaming of ways to digitally erase it, scale it, write on it, and project it - symbols of a united future, plus creative advocacy to get there. After my sojourn in Assisi, I’ll go to Geneva to seek partners to make these dreams a reality.

Spiritually, I’m fascinated by walls as well. Walls of separation, doubt, hitting the wall; Jesus bridging the walls between Jew and Gentile, male and female, religious and lay people. The walls of Jericho tumbling down; the spies, and later Paul, being let down over city walls. I’m not sure what other Biblical references there are for walls, but I'll be looking for them this month.

What walls are there in Rome? The Vatican – are the walls meant to delimit the state, keep God in, or people out? You need quiet and solitude to pray, but Jesus also said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t prevent them.”

Always curious, I ask my seatmate where he’s going. He shares that he is going home to Montenegro for the first time in seventeen years. He just got landed immigrant status in Canada, so can fly now.

“What does peace mean to you?,” I ask.

“I’m a Christian.”

“That gives you peace?”


“Inner peace or outer peace?”

“Inner peace.”

“Is Montenegro a religious country?”

“Yes; the Muslims especially demonstrate their faith.”

Then he turns the conversation to me.

“Are you peaceful?,” he asks.

“Actually, not at the moment. I’m a peacebuilder seeking peace. My work is not peaceful, it’s stressful, and I’m having a hard time finding inner peace right now. I’m very much looking forward to this month to rediscover it.”

I reflect, in the solitude of an overnight flight, why I find peace so elusive lately. Notably, it’s because I’ve neglected my after-work prayer and bike rides. Life is just too busy lately, especially preparing for this trip. My evening prayers are rushed; I am too tired to pray that late. This trip, I want to protect one hour to pray and one hour to write each day. I won’t be working, plus no cooking - that’s an instant two hours a day, plus more peace!

I pray for the fruitfulness of my journey.


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Dear Carole, Whether our dreams are realized or not, we clutch them to our hearts. Hold fast to yours! In the meantime, you have voiced the solution to your struggle for inner peace - protect your time to pray, exercise, and write every day. Practice the Hours (dawn, midday, dusk, and night) and you will find that you are more productive in the time remaining that you commit to work. Your health is critical to your spiritual journey..... before you hit the "wall."

I pray for the success of your peace quest. Your gentle heart and spirit is open to the pain of others' spiritual journeys. It is a quality that I've always loved. That said, I am reminded that we should be patient and not "pick the fruit before it is ripe." Allow peace to come to you and through you. That presence will help draw to you and realize your next, new opportunity.

Daniel, thank you for your wise words. I am so inspired by your ability to remain peaceful in a very difficult place for such an active person - devoting yourself to fulltime caregiving for your parents for almost a decade. The fruits of the spirit are evident, and you are a blessing to your family and friends. You obviously have integrated your advice.