Dona Nobis Pacem

Every November fourth for the past dozen or so years, I’ve been blogging for peace, though I’m not sure why I decided to participate in the first place. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause, and this year I’ve been particularly demoralized by all the wars going on in the world. Is this really who are? After all these eons of human life, is war still the only way we have of resolving international conflicts? Of defending freedom?

People always talk about the human race as if we are warmongers, and yes, some people are, most notably those who make money and take power from wars, but think about it. How many wars have you personally started? For the most part, we (you and me, anyway) are peace lovers. We shy away from violence, even in the name of freedom. Most of us don’t even start personal conflicts, though sometimes we do unwillingly get involved in contretemps we don’t quite know how to end.

When people accept that humanity will probably never be able to eradicate aggression and violence, they look to nature for peace, thinking of warm bucolic days when the only sound is a distant a bird or a nearby insect. But even that isn’t “peace.”

Think about it — there you are, having a pleasant walk through the woods, having a picnic in a meadow, or perhaps standing on top of a mountain. All is peaceful. Or is it? If your ears were hypersensitive, as is the hero from my novel Bob, The Right Hand of God:

All seemed silent, still.

His ears became attuned to the quiet, and he heard insects cricking and chirring and buzzing.

Then other sounds registered, sounds so faint several seconds passed before he comprehended what he was hearing: the relentless hunger of nature. The larger prairie creatures and the most minute devoured each other in a cacophony of crunching, tearing, ripping, gnashing, grinding.

At the realization he was sharing space with things that must be fed, he took a step backward and bumped into a tree, a gnarled oak that hadn’t been there a moment ago. Leaning against the ancient tree, he heard the roots reaching out, creeping, grasping, wanting, needing. He jerked away from the tree and fell to hands and knees. Blades of grass moaned under his weight, and the screams of wildflowers being murdered by more aggressive vegetation almost deafened him.

He opened his mouth to add his own shrieks to the clamor but closed it again and cupped his ears when he became aware of a long sonorous undulation deep beneath the ground. The heartbeat of the earth.

Yeah, right. Peace.

If we expand peace to a microscopic or even a cosmic plane, we see a stasis created by opposite but equal forces in conflict.

And yet . . . and yet . . .

Today hundreds, maybe thousands of people are peacefully blogging about peace, creating peaceful images, sharing peaceful words, contemplating peace, visiting each other’s peace blogs. A lovely day. A peaceful day.

We may not be stopping wars or violence. We may or may not be attaining peace within ourselves, may or may not be at peace with our world.

But despite all that, today seems less about peace and freedom (today’s theme is No Freedom, No Peace) and more about believing we matter. And we do matter.

At least I hope so.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

7 Responses to “Dona Nobis Pacem”

  1. Mimi Lenox Says:

    You’re so right. We do matter. I know that this little blog movement means a great deal to many people; the opportunity to speak, to have a voice, is freedom in and of itself.

    I spend a lot of time in nature and can relate to how you describe (so vividly!) nature’s contrasting state of affairs. Your books sound intriguing and need to be on my must-read list.

    Thank you for blogging for peace with us. I’m glad your honest viewpoints are part of the conversation. Peace to you and yours ~ Mimi

  2. Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo, Cinnamon and Barb Says:

    Thank you. For me, Mother Teresa’s quote “Peace begins with a smile” has made a difference. Keep being awesome.

  3. Sherry Marr Says:

    Yes, people matter, and all the other beings we share the planet with. Like you, I wonder why humanity has not evolved by now. We should be so much better than we are at living on this planet. Like you, I believe that most of us want peace and are doing our best……..the state of the world is discouraging right now. Yet we blog for peace, because it is something we can do. Peace to you and yours.

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