Why Do We Choose War?

Friends, you have been so wonderfully patient as I took a two-month break from writing these meditations to focus on getting TWO books written and ready for publication. Clearly, I lost my mind. Ha! But soon, you will see updates about these projects as they become available from the publishers. Now, let’s resume our meditations together. I am excited to be back. Cameron

We rejoin one another in the midst of a devastating war launched by Russia against the Ukrainian people. We’ve been watching heartbreaking images of innocent civilians thrust into the fight for their country that has separated them from their families and risk their very lives. 

The question is: why? Why do we still go to war with each other? What is the goal of this violence? What does this serve? Power? Dominance? Ideology? Greed? 

Watching families being divided, we see the dangers of the dualistic mind. A dualistic mind makes war possible. It says “reality” is you versus me, us against them. A dualistic mind says that we are good, and you are evil. We are not connected. We are not fundamentally the same.  The tragedy of war is that we pretend as if these relationships, these essential connections we share to one another, don’t exist. We deny the beautiful ways we need each other.
Years ago, in the old city of Jerusalem, I met a woman who made stoles for a living. As I was browsing through her store, I asked her how she started making them.
Many years before, her three children had been with her in the market one day. She was off buying some vegetables for their dinner that evening when she heard someone scream. She looked back just in time to watch her children – her life – as they were blown from the face of the earth by a suicide bomber. Can you imagine the horror? Can you imagine the unspeaking, crushing pain?
She spent the next year of her life in a numb fog, trying to understand how and why this could happen. Until finally, she stopped. She awoke one morning realizing that there are no good answers to these questions. What would answers bring her anyway? What she had to do was to decide how to live.
Her way of living in the midst of her woundedness was to start making stoles. To her, they became signs of peace and love. She has a vision of people all across the world wearing them as they spoke for peace, marched for justice, and cared for the sick. In her brokenness, she turned to love, gifting us all with her testimony, her handmade art, and her unfailing grace.
When I found the stole I wanted to buy, she placed it over my shoulders. Looking me in the eyes, she said “This is a symbol of peace that I give to you this day. May every day of your life bring peace to our earth and love to all people.” It was the most powerful commissioning I have ever known.

She understood that life holds both great love and deep tragedy. We should always work for love. We should always seek the way of peace. We do this not because we are divided but because we are One.

The work of making peace begins with the task of making ourselves whole. Let us pray for peace in ourselves so that we might embody it in our world. 

We are in this together,

Rev. Cameron Trimble
Author of Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight

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