By Steven P. Fines

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A humanitarian crisis ensued following the natural disasters that inflicted the people of Joplin, Missouri and the surrounding areas on May 22nd.  Most everything was lost, but what was lost in disaster was made up for in humanity.  Executives from Mills Park Centre Furniture and Appliance created a humanitarian response called Chests of Hope.  Chests of Hope donates chests to children of families that lost all their possessions.  And in the drawers of the chests are toys and other necessities.  This is one example of hundreds of Missourians coming together for a common cause.  Healing.

An America the world is dying to see.  The global conflicts, mainly centered upon the Middle East, are but a symptom.  There is no one cause to global strife, and there is certainly no one solution.  But this we know with certainty; America is the global leader with bipolar symptoms of brute force and good will.  What many Americans fail to understand; the world wants to see a tolerant super-power.

And Her people too.  From a socio-economic and ideological prospective, the model of a free people, is envied globally.  We are the leaders of the free world.  Not the President of the United States and no one person for that matter.  All Americans.  Can we be tolerant?  For that matter, can we even accept our own people?

And the American people have cried; cried for an end to the global conflict that they have argued no longer represents their spirit.  They want the troops home today!  That is a reasonable desire.  It is natural for Americans to want to end conflicts they see as counter-productive.  But the war will never end.  Because we can’t enable a sustainable peace abroad until we discover an equivalent peace at home.  

Americans want safety, economic prosperity, they want American involvement in global conflict to end and the troops to come home.  They look at others as a means to accomplish their ends.  They angrily protest the under-accomplished U.S. Government from their sofas.  Yet, what is evident, is Americans have far more power to end global strife than a soldier with a weapon and ammunition.  Americans can successfully conclude the Global War on Terrorism.  

This writer has witnessed many people across many countries around the world.  We all dress different, we all smell different, we pray to a different God, and sing to a different tune.  But there is one thing we do that is universal.  It’s a gift from God we take for granted.  We smile. Joe Morgan smiled.  I didn’t know Joe personally, in fact, I never met him.  From all the stories written about Joe following his passing, what is universally remembered about him is his “sly smile”.

So smile. And; shake a stranger’s hand.  Mow your neighbor’s lawn.  Hug your children.  Compliment a co-worker.  Walk your dog.  Feed the squirrels.  Volunteer.  Visit your elderly aunt.  Have family meals at the dinner table.  Feed your mind and engage your soul.  Get involved in government.  Protest and educate yourself on current events.  If you disagree, be civil.  And above all, accept your fellow Americans.  Regardless of sexual orientation, gender, color, creed, political ideology or economic status, we all walk this path together; we might as well learn to love the person who has to walk beside us.  That’s a start.

God often responds in senseless ways to deliver a lasting message.  But those senseless acts are never more than His children can endure.  Chests of Hope answered the call giving hope to a people that are currently in a helpless state.  But to spread peace in America you don’t have to come up with a grand and caring concept with a complicated logistical requirement.  All you have to do is smile.

Most of all, Push Forward.

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