April Letter from the PublisherApr 01, 2022 12:36AM ● By Shanna Warner
The words of Peace Pilgrim have been on my heart recently. She is my personal hero. From 1953 to 1981, during the decades of the Korean and Vietnam wars, she walked more than 25,000 miles across our country spreading a simple message—“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.”
With all the stories about the possibility of another world war looming in our national and international news feeds, I sometimes wonder if war is an inevitability for humans. Is it part of the human condition? Is it part of the way of life for neighbor to battle neighbor and nation to battle nation? Must individuals always fight about who owns the sidewalk? Must nations always fight about oil or control of the land and sea? Unfortunately, I think it is part of the human condition. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Peace Pilgrim knew this. She was born in 1908 as Mildred Norman. She died in 1981 as Peace Pilgrim, having given up her name along with all her possessions. As a young woman, she witnessed several world wars and knew that peace was vital to living together on this beautiful planet. She knew her lifework would cover the entire picture of peace: among nations, groups, individuals and most importantly, an individual’s inner peace. She knew that outer peace begins with inner peace; that the world truly could experience peace when enough individuals found personal peace.
And so, she walked with a mission. She wore simple clothes, had no money, no possessions other than what she carried in her pockets, fasted until someone gave her food and walked until someone gave her shelter. As she walked, she talked with people she met on the country roads and in the city streets. As Peace Pilgrim spoke, she encouraged folks to work for peace right where they were, in their family and neighborhood, their city and state.
As we watch the world around us, peace often seems a distant goal. That makes it harder to find inner peace at times, doesn't it? Peace Pilgrim had some simple suggestions: “Every time you meet a person, think of some encouraging word to say; every time you come into a situation, think of some good thing to bring. Whenever you bring harmony into any unpeaceful situation, you contribute to the total peace picture. Insofar as you have peace in your life, you will reflect it into your surroundings and into your world.”
May the peace that passes understanding fill your heart and life today and sustain you through the coming months and years.
Get her free booklet, Steps Toward Inner Peace, at PeacePilgrim.org.