Yesterday I read something in a meditation book that quoted Trappist monk and writer Thomas Merton: "The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace."
It hit home with me. As someone who's passionate about justice, I've often been driven to push hard against the edges of what is—to challenge the way things are, to speak truth to power. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing.
However, Merton's caution about "frenzy" is apt. Frantically trying to put out every fire and right every wrong isn't exactly the way of peace. And sometimes ego can grab onto all those struggles as a way to be admired and revered. And that really isn't the way of peace, is it?
I'm trying at this stage of life to be a bit more calm and serene about the ways I address injustice. Mind you, I'm not saying we don't need the loud and frenzied activists. Many who were formerly marginalized and who now have rights know the power and value of those who march, take the big risks, speak out, fight the system and make change happen. As with so much of life, however, there's a balance somewhere in there. Work for peace—and somehow at the same time, be peace.