Peace, nonviolence and puppies

A little more about my journey through Bob Goff’s book Dream Big. As I mentioned yesterday, in response to the prompt “Are there some recurring themes in your behaviors and choices?” I wrote in all-caps, “PEACE. NONVIOLENCE. PUPPIES.”

I realized then that he may have been talking more about behaviors I want to adjust as opposed to themes that I often return to in my thoughts and writings, and so I pursued the question along the lines I pursued yesterday. But those really are three of my “passion topics.”

I really can’t think of a human activity more downright foolish than war. People — or more accurately their leaders or rulers — have a disagreement, and to resolve their differences they hurl their subjects at each other with a goal of killing as many of their opponents’ subjects as possible. That resolves nothing: Everyone still disagrees, and the only real results are resentment, grief, anger and a greater hatred than before the killing started.

My experience is that people want peace. Almost every transaction and interaction between humans is peaceful. War is an aberration and the most utter failure to preserve the peace. I started out confused by the whole concept, and I have become more virulently anti-war as time goes on.

Losing Red, the wonderful human being with whom I shared the last quarter century, has made me even more so. Hers was a peaceful death — or as peaceful a death as a horrible disease can offer — but the loss has helped me understand, in a way I hadn’t quite grasped before, just how devastating and complete death is. To cause the premature death of another human being, deliberately, is nothing short of insane.

I have written often of my admiration for Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jesus the Christ, with regard to their commitment to nonviolent solutions. 

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” Jesus said. “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone takes your cloak, do not withhold your tunic as well.” That’s hard advice to swallow, but it’s more likely to turn an enemy into a friend someday than killing that enemy and as many of his friends as you can.

And then there’s puppies. Do I really need to say more? There are dozens if not hundreds of writings and memes about how if you want to learn about unconditional love, pay attention to your puppy. The bond between puppy and human is one of the greatest examples to follow about how to love.

I was going to write “One of the greatest examples to follow about how to love your neighbor,” but a puppy can get pretty feisty if a neighbor or other stranger is perceived as a threat to those she loves. In the absence of a threat, though, there’s nothing like puppy love. If turning the other cheek doesn’t work, try handing your enemy a puppy. 

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UPDATE: So many people were supportive yesterday that I thought I’d do this for awhile. For Tuesday: “Write one thank-you note.” Done. “Write one paragraph of Jeep.” Done. “Write one paragraph of (other unannounced work in progress).” Done. I suspect pretty soon I’ll be regularly exceeding those daily minimums.

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