Saturday, August 25, 2007

At work with thoughts of war and peace

This Saturday morning as I cleaned up the flotsam from a week’s construction at our Quaker meeting house (above), it occurred to me how much it takes to build, and how our time and labor, far more than our money, bonds us to what we create.

And then I thought of war’s instantaneous destruction.

Its destruction of life. How much work we put into our own lives and into those of others, starting with the lives of children.

I thought of the destruction of those who escape death but live on in misery and anger, in hatred and pain.

To say they are the victims of war is wrong. War is a word for our own human failing. The death and destruction is not caused by some uncontrollable, outside force; it is caused by us, by all who declare, support and wage war.

Because of the physical nature of my labor at the meeting house, as I swept and shoveled and hauled debris, I thought most of the destruction of buildings, homes, schools, hospitals, factories and, yes, places of worship like this one.

When we destroy a place, we do not simply obliterate a building, a neighborhood, a village, a town, a city. We kill all that went into them: the dreaming, planning, building, caring, nurturing and using.

As I worked, I felt the preciousness of creation and peace, and rededicated myself — with each whisk of the broom and scoop of the shovel— to opposing the terrible destruction that we do to each other in the name of war.

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