Beyond the Banter: A fragile peace




How must it feel to have your homeland occupied by the enemy? To be dispossessed of your land? To have your home bombarded and reduced to a pile of rubble? How must it feel to lose relatives and friends? To lose possessions and dignity? To be surrounded by devastation, chaos and uncertainty? Not knowing where the next meal may come from or whether you even have a table to sit at? How would we cope with no electricity, no running water, living the life of a refugee in a climate of fear? What must it be like to be frightened by the callous actions of extremists? And equally fearful of your own emotions which may boil over in desperation demanding justice and revenge?

For an ordinary bloke wanting to live a peaceful, meaningful life, earn a living, care for a family, bring security and protection to those you love, and maintain a grip on beliefs and values, a life in that kind of environment would be severely restricted. Even when a cease fire is declared, providing an opportunity to look after the wounded, it’s a fragile peace and experience suggests it will not last. Conflict will resume and there will be yet more suffering.

Sometimes our hearts can feel like that enemy occupied land. Battle weary, battered and bruised after yet another enemy onslaught. Every now and then there is a temporary cease fire. A chance to regroup. New hope and encouragement to keep going. Yet, after only a brief respite, another bombardment comes, threatening to destroy much of what we had salvaged from previous wreckage. Enemies know how to target with precision any weakness in defences. Their aim is to destroy, immobilise, silence and distract. They know how to create disunity, cut off supplies, prey on the vulnerable, sever communication and create exhaustion.

Options are limited in a situation where what’s happening is outside our control. We can remain victims, hunkering down until the next cease fire, longing for peace, yet existing and surviving rather than really living, but at least being close to roots and family and all that is familiar. Or, we can gather all those we love and anything we can salvage, and start out on a path that is unfamiliar, heading for a destination which is unknown, taking on a new adventure with hope of a better life. Whichever option is chosen, we’ll need to cling to the hope that even though life at the moment is not how we imagined it would be, the best is yet to come.

Main photo credit: Jakob Owens via Unsplash

Bob Fraser

Bob Fraser is a singer-songwriter, men’s group leader and Regional Director for CVM aiming to open up conversations about life and faith.

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