I just finished reading the book, Messenger, about the amazing poet, philosopher, and peacemaker Mattie Stepanek. In the book, Mattie's mother, Jeni, describes the life of her son, who suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy which eventually took his life when he was thirteen.
Jeni had lost her first three children to this cruel disease, and her account of losing her children, her marriage, and her health as she became ill with the rare disorder is a story of heroism and faith. Mattie's love of life combined with his courage to endure suffering and sorrow is heroic. As I read Jeni's memories of Mattie, I felt inspired to seek after peace in simple and yet significant ways.
"We need to make peace an attitude --want it, be a peace seeker.
"We need to make peace a habit--live it, be a peace maker.
"We need to make peace a reality--share it, with people around the block and around the world, even people we disagree with. That's being a peace bringer."
At Mattie funeral, Jeni received permission from the Catholic Church for her best friend, Sandy, to read Mattie's "Psalm of Tad 358" instead of a psalm from the Old Testament. Mattie wrote:
Lord, You have
Saved me from sadness,
And lifted me to light
All my life,
I have been haunted
By the darkness,
Only my dreams gave me sight.
But my Savior
Has now turned me
Back to light
No longer do I dwell in shadows....,
May God give us the strength to be peace seekers, peace makers, and peace bringers in our hearts, homes, and communities.
© Carol Brown