Years ago someone gave me a peace pole.
You know…one of those wooden poles that has the words Peace on Earth written on it in about eight different languages. I decided that the best place to put it was at the corner of the church where our classroom building meets our parking lot. There drivers might see it when they drove into our lot and parents and children would see it when they came to nursery school each day.
It has occupied that corner for 10+ years now.
As I have walked by it recently, I have begun to notice how worn it looks. It no longer stands straight. The lettering of many of the words have worn off. Where it meets the ground is nicked and chipped from the lawn guys using the power trimmer to trim the grass around it. As I walked by it this morning I almost stopped and pulled it out of the ground to throw it away.
But this afternoon it occurred to me that maybe the sign is perfect just the way it is. A bit crooked and looking worn. It looks the way those who do the hard work of building peace, whether in their neighborhoods or in their schools or in this world, must look and feel each day. Building peace is hard work and messy and wearing and painstakingly slow. You don’t do the work without becoming worn around the edges. Those who want everything to be nice and to look nice and for the process to be wrapped up quickly and easily soon turn from the task.
I think for the time being I will leave my worn and tilting peace pole where it is and as it is. At least for me, it will be a reminder of what it really takes to build Peace on Earth.