Mandan News

Reflections on peace

Layout 1 (Page 1)Ever get the feeling that we Americans take our peaceful existence for granted? As a retiree who’s wondering what to do with myself at any given moment, I do have to admit that I pay a bit more attention to talk shows and the news lately … and there seems to be a lot more war than peace in the world.

As both my loyal readers might attest, I consider myself an incredibly lucky fellow. My life has been filled with way more blessings than curses. Like you, I have experienced some rough travels, but overall I have to admit that my life has been a precious gift filled with more smiles than frowns.

First off, I was lucky enough to be born in America after WWII, a war in which my father had to actually kill or be killed, a war that my father fought with sincere hopes that his children would never have to experience what he had go through. So far, his wish has come true, but that doesn’t mean that his kids ever backed down from a battle or were afraid to take on a cause they believed in. So here I am retired, living a peaceful life that the vast majority of the world can’t even dream about.

Bear with me here. It’s Aug. 2, and I am the lake with my son, wife and daughter’s dog (Charley). The weather is absolutely awesome, mid 80’s, no wind and the summer doldrums are in full swing. By this time of year, life at Lake Tschida enters its best moments. Projects are done, the grass is mowed and everything is working the way it should, allowing us to just enjoy being here.

Mornings are my favorite time for two reasons. One, they are a good indicator that I have been granted another day, and two, there’s nothing more peaceful than watching our beloved prairie come to life. Mornings out here are filled with a peaceful, easy feeling, that’s difficult to describe to those folks whose mornings are harried with kids, jobs and such.

Then there’s the rest of the day, where there are no chores other than making sure everyone is fed and lathered up in sunscreen. Many of these days are filled by sitting on the deck watching boat traffic and wondering if we should fire up the pontoon and join them. Oft times, I find myself getting into my fishing boat to troll around the bay, attempting to catch supper, then returning to the cabin for a noon hour nap or a snack on the deck.

Considering that I get up with the intent of doing nothing all day, and am still not done by bedtime, I have to admit that my retirement has been a great success. Indeed, I live an incredibly peaceful life.

So, when I see images of kids that have survived a trek from Central America to the U.S., I can’t help but wonder, why me? Why have I and my family been so lucky that we don’t have to worry about missiles landing in our neighborhood? Why don’t we have to worry about sending our children to a better place? Why don’t you and I have to worry about where our next meal or next night’s rest come from?

How come we’re so lucky? I’ll admit there’s something to peace through strength, but I can’t help wondering if we could have done better. For instance what would the world look like if we had stuck as much money in the Peace Corps over the last 50 years as we have stuck into defense? Would we have taught the world to feed itself; would we have made life better or worse?

What would have happened if we had shared rather than exploited? Would life around the world be more peaceful if we had pounded our swords into plows? What would the world be like if we had truly shared those Christian values we’re all so proud of, turned the other cheek, loved our neighbors like we love ourselves and made it a point to share our bounties with the poor and less fortunate?

Like John Lennon, ‘you may say I’m a dreamer …,’and I hope I’m not the only one. I guess I’m just one of those guys who is living the good life and wondering how come I’m so lucky. I have no answers, just prayers for those folks whose neighborhoods are blown up, whose families are torn asunder and those who have no hope of escaping the hell they’re trapped in.

Peace be with you … dn