Asking for peace

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tonight I was pedaling home (to Oregon) from a wonderful Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin listening session in the Memorial Union. As I rolled into the north end of town I noticed quite a few cars and pickups parked outside a sports bar there. The thought flashed through my mind, "I could stop and ask the people inside whether they would give up driving to the bar if that is what it took to stop the war in Iraq."

As usual, I was terrified of doing such a thing. But for once I didn't do the usual thing - i.e. NOT do it and then brood and fume about what a chicken I am. I went inside and saw 7 or 8 younger guys sitting at a table, none of whom I had ever met. They looked up at me in a friendly way and several said "Hi". I said "Hi" and then asked them the question I was scared to ask.

One guy immediately yelled, "Hell yes!" He is a veteran of the current war in Iraq. I shook his hand, thanked him for serving his country, and then opined that I believe his country and his President have treated him disgracefully. He did not disagree - he related how much his views have changed since he volunteered a few years ago.

Then I spoke to the other guys. I told them that I want peace on Earth, but we are not going to buy that peace at Kwik Trip. I told them that I have no idea how to change how we live in Oregon. I said some other stuff and several of us talked a bit - I don't recall exactly what because by then my stomach was all butterflies. I couldn't believe I had done it.

I don't say this stuff to you to brag. I say it because I believe that if we are ever going to have a peaceful, sustainable world, we must speak it into existence.

I also know that tonight I truly lived. I want all of you to live.


Hans Noeldner


Ed Blume said...

You're an inspiration, Hans.