I've Been Everywhere, Man

somewhere in the Rocky Mountains – near Lincoln, MT

somewhere in the Rocky Mountains – near Lincoln, MT

I’m in my fifth week as a Peace Intern now. At this point, I’ve been to Nebraska, Florida, North Carolina, Montana, and am currently in Northern California. The latter four camps have all been since my last blog post, so I wanted to give an update on those experiences (more detail to follow in a photo diary post).

At the camp in Montana, we read a Daoist text as part of a morning reflection. A portion of it follows.

The Master has no mind of her own.
She works with the mind of the people.
— Lao Tzu

As I reflected on this portion, I felt like it connected to my own experiences as a Peace Intern. I have gained knowledge through this journey, but I have also gained wisdom. I gained knowledge through researching topics, gaining background information, and applying various lenses to the topics. Wisdom is different though. Wisdom is, I believe, less able to be qualified than knowledge.

However, much like the Daoist text suggests, I need a community to help me find that wisdom. So far, this summer has provided the perfect community for this growth. If you give a youth an opportunity to be thoughtful in a space that they feel safe to do so, you will be swept away by what you can learn.

Take, for instance, a young woman in Florida who shared that “forgiveness is for finding peace within yourself,” and then went on to talk more about the damaging nature of holding on to anger. Another example is the camper who, after learning about toxic masculinity, allowed himself to get emotional at campfire and clapped back at a negative comment about it by saying “it’s okay for me to cry, even if I’m a boy.”

There are countless opportunities every day for us to engage in difficult, meaningful, civil conversation with young people, old people, any people. Let’s do so, it’s worth it.

The world is so often judgmental, be different. The world is dismissive of young voices, be different. Be better.