Peace.  Peace on Earth.  Goodwill toward men.  Popular phrases in the Christmas season.  And yet, peace is not highly valued in our current climate.  Peace has been replaced with polarization. We and they are labels that pull us apart.  Understanding is what brings peace and collaboration.  

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. - Albert Einstein

In his Ted Talk, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks asks, “Is there something we can do to face the future peacefully?”


I’d like to share with you two stories of individuals who worked at understanding and the result is something that goes even beyond peace.  

Journalist Robyn Passante tells these two stories. 

In 2011 Mary Parry was homeless and living in a tent in Pennsylvania when she began befriending hikers along the roughly 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail.  Today she’s one of the trial’s most well-known “trail angels,” routinely opening her two-bedroom apartment a  block from the trail to strangers with backpacks.  In a typical year she shelters or shuttles up to 800 hikers who text her or knock on her door, giving them home-cooked meals, rides and the use of her car, and a place to shower and sleep.  

To weary, grimy, hungry hikers, Trail Angel Mary is a godsend.  But she says God sent them first.  “Helping them,” Parry says, “is my way of thanking God for him bringing those people to me when I was having a rough time in my life.”

Each of these stories appeared in SUCCESS Magazine.

When Aidan Thomas Anderson got involved with charity work at age 8, he thought he’d be inspiring his generation to give back. “But adults are coming into the picture,” says the now 16-year-old, who speaks and performs music at corporate events for up to 10,000 people.  “The need is so great for people to learn how to give. . . We don’t need to be a big deal.  Just a ripple.”

Polarization is too much I, too little we.  It’s the people not like us that make us grow, our understanding of them brings peace, and our serving them brings life.  

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.  - John Lennon