This all started when a traffic situation on my way to the grocery store found me face to face with a big pickup truck that had bossy-barreled up on me, staring me down until I stood down. I had to move. Which I did, navigating into a makeshift spot. As the truck started to pass, I was tempted to glare for good measure, but was handed the opportunity to look up and I did.
I could see the sky, bursting in beauty, the sun shining through a stunning blanket of clouds. This glorious glimpse reframed the whole situation. Looking up took my eyes off myself and offered me the opportunity to see a bit beyond my moment to a much bigger picture. My heart shifted from no-you-didn’t indignation to compassion and thankfulness amidst a simple, though slightly begrudging, act of kindness. This was my first taste of what we would eventually call the Peace Project.
Thankfulness shifts our eyes to the source. With eyes off us, even for a moment, we’re able to see the person walking alongside—even a rude person—as a human being, a person of great worth, someone who matters and has dignity. All of which invites mercy (undeniably a soul-level action), compassion, and peace to prevail at that moment. How and where our thoughts are anchored proves much more powerful than we may realize.
Here are some basic definitions as a beginning guide.
Thankfulness: calling out things for which to be grateful. This can be more than one thing, but not the same thing every day.
Kindness: seeing and loving others (ourselves included) in deed or action.
Mercy: a kind or forgiving attitude toward someone that you have the power to harm or the right to punish (even ourselves).
When combined, these three gently reset dislocated hearts, filling unrealized voids with peace. The bounty that comes with purposefully practicing thankfulness, kindness, and mercy sits quietly in the wings throughout the day, any day, offering opportunities waiting to be tapped.
Welcome to our less-than-perfect yet transformative pilgrimage through a landscape lined with not just sightings but experiences of deep peace and joy on our way to what I hope is a new normal.
It’s hard to describe it any other way.
Commit to this pilgrimage which allows thankfulness, kindness, and mercy to transform you. One day at a time!