When I clean my house I always start in exactly one corner.
Taking on the 6 rooms of the small bungalow at once is too much for me.
I do remember one day when I dusted in one room and swept in another, tidied here and straightened there, and back round again and again. For the most part, it worked, but I felt dizzy from it and scattered. If the phone had rung while I spun these cleaning plates, I certainly would have dropped the whole lot.
When things are in disarray it is best to start in one corner, and work one’s way out, bit by bit.
The world is a mess. If you feel off or down or confused, slightly insecure, flashing anxiety, it is because though your room may be tidy, what surrounds it is in forms of upset ranging from disorder to disaster. The air that touches us is filled with the echo of grief.
As you begin your day today, as you venture out into your immediate world, pick one corner and make it better.
In my church, in churches around the country, near the end of the service the pastor will ask you to ‘pass the peace’. Though you may feel sometimes uncomfortable you will turn behind you, then turn again to reach out in front, and either take a hand, or in my case, embrace a stranger with a hug, and say, “peace be with you” .
At the Presbyterian Church on Fifth avenue, standing beside me was Steve. He was grizzled and big and sweaty. His hands were swollen and cracked. He stood and kneeled and stood again and sat beside me sharing in the service. A stranger holding a respectful distance and silence. But at “pass the peace”, when I took him into my arms, he became mine, a friend, a fellow, a journeyman along my way. “ Peace be with you” I said near his ear. “ Peace be with you.” He said into my hair, and as I pulled away from him, I looked into his eyes, mine then filled with joy at having felt his heart beat. I beamed at him, then leaning in to whisper I said, “ It’s the best part, isn’t it? “ And he smiled too. “ It is. “ he said. And we smiled into each other with shyness and knowing and gratitude. My heart lifted and filled with singing.
Isn’t it sometimes just unbearable sweetness to feel your love penetrate another and receive that gratitude returned?
Pass the peace. Do it everywhere you go today.
Let us begin in our small corner. Hand out a dollar, reach out a hand, deliver a kind word and bit by bit let us make a difference.
I dream of a day when we all agree that at a certain hour on a certain day, all over the world, at once, we will turn to whom ever is standing beside us and say, “Peace be with you.”