If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. – Mother Teresa
Business took me to San Diego recently. After a winter of avoiding the Polar Vortex by running on the treadmill, I was looking forward to the outdoor runs. San Diego’s harbor boardwalk offered the perfect opportunity for that.
Wide enough to accommodate walkers, bikers, and skateboarders, the boardwalk also accommodates runners with scenic views of the marina mixed in with restaurants, shops, and parks. It ends where the USS Midway is docked.
The aircraft carrier named after the decisive Battle of Midway, which gave United States naval forces an offensive advantage against the Japanese, was commissioned eight days after World War II ended.
Now the carrier sits in San Diego harbor as a floating museum. As I was running on the dock next to the USS Midway, I noticed a Japanese tourist who was ready to snap a picture of the ship. Noticing me, the tourist made eye contact, smiled, nodded and then lowered his camera.
In that moment, there was consideration, kindness and respect. He didn’t want to interrupt my pace. I smiled and nodded back with appreciation.
I had family members who fought in World War II. My great Uncle J.C. was on a naval destroyer and saw action on the Pacific. His ship was responsible was sinking several Japanese vessels. As a child, I remember noticing his white hair and shaky hands that my mother would tell me later were a result of “shell shock.”
Perhaps the Japanese tourist also had family members who fought in the war. Maybe he remembers relatives who were impacted just as much as my uncle.
But that was then. This is now.
The animosity that triggered the war is fading. Today, one man graciously yielded to another without expecting anything in return. Today, two countries that were once at war are now at peace.
That brief encounter was a gift that told me that it’s never too late; and it’s never impossible to give, and to receive peace.
Sometimes the simple path to offering peace begins when we believe forgiveness is always possible no matter the transgressions committed against us or the transgressions we commit.
As I was walking off the run, my thoughts turned to the people in my life where peace needs to be given a chance. After all, peace may come in different sizes, but its power to heal is one size that fits all and it can happen with a head nod and a smile.
What is A Simple Path?
This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Please be sure to check out my book on Amazon: 20 Simple Paths to an Amazing Life.