I Have Come to Believe that Peace is Precious

by | Dec 31, 2018 | Peace | 0 comments

Oh, she of the tumultuous tummy, what have you come to believe?

I have come to believe that peace is precious.

In The Walking Dead, there’s a line that has sat with me for the past few days.

                                                            By the way, I’m waaay behind and watching on Netflix, so I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that                                     what  I have to say can’t really  be considered spoilers. Either you’re a fan and are most likely waaay  ahead  of me, or you aren’t, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

The line?

“I have come to believe that all life is precious.”

It’s spoken by a man named Eastman who kidnapped a prisoner, kept him captive in a cell in Eastman’s home, and watched the prisoner starve to death. 

Horrible, right?

Bear with me. This does eventually have a point. 

“I have come to believe that all life is precious.”  Eastman has–for want of a short, non-convoluted, non-squirrel-laden description–a visitor. He tells his visitor this without artifice, and, strangely enough, without intentional irony.

The prisoner, as it turns out, was someone Eastman knew while working as a forensic psychiatrist at a prison. The prisoner’s name was Crighton Dallas Wilton, and he was a true psychopath. Eastman’s job was to examine prisoners, determine whether they were likely to re-offend, and make recommendations to the parole board. If Eastman held any doubt that Crighton Dallas Wilton would re-offend, the fact that Wilton tried to kill Eastman would have laid those doubts to rest. 

Three names, like someone who assassinated a President. John Wilkes Booth. Crighton Dallas Wilton. 

Wilton escaped later, came to Eastman’s home, and killed his wife, his son, and his daughter. Wilton then turned himself into the police, covered in the blood of Eastman’s family. He told the authorities that the only reason he escaped was to ruin Eastman’s life.

For this, Eastman kidnapped him from some outside labor detail, brought him to his cabin, and placed him in a cell.

I now wonder how different Christmas Vacation would have been if the Griswolds would have had a cell in their home.

He then watched him for the forty-seven days it took for Wilton starve to death.

There was no peace in watching him die, Eastman tells his new visitor. No satisfaction.

“I have come to believe that all life is precious.”

The sentence itself is a journey in ten words. He doesn’t say, “I believe that all life is precious,” but rather, “I have come to believe.”

He has arrived at the conclusion that all life is precious.

The journey to that conclusion led him through some very dark woods. His conclusion was a result of his killing a man in one of the worst ways imaginable—passively, almost. Once Eastman locked him up, all he had to do was wait. And wait. And wait.

For forty-seven days.

From that, he emerged a man who had come to believe that all life is precious.

I have come to believe that peace is precious. Not because I have emerged from my own very dark woods and have attained it. Hardly that. I’m just tired of being angry. I saw a Tweet that perfectly sums up my feelings: 

“Being angry all the time is exhaustive and corrosive. Not being angry feels morally irresponsible.” 

@TimGrierson

 

So…is it really a choice between Door Number One, AKA, “exhaustive and corrosive” and Door Number Two, AKA, “morally irresponsible”? 

That’s what I’m trying to find out. 

I know that anger is exhaustive. It’s like an infected hair follicle that inflames everything around it. I’m sure if I went down that train track of thought, I’d end up with a pustule, so I’d better leave it as is. 

Anger is one of those “gifts” that keep on giving. Anger poisons relationships, sleep, contentment, and clear thinking. It poisons work and family and play–and on and on and on. 

It’s not that I’ve attained inner peace, because oh-mah-Gawd I have not. It’s more that I have experienced fleeting glimpses, mere moments, of actual peace. 

Peace is a rare and precious thing to me. 

According to Google, peace in its adjectival form is “[of an object, substance, or resource] of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.” 

That leads me to the following: 

 

 Questions: 

Is peace a finite resource like, say, fossil fuels? No matter how much it seems we have, or have access to, is it indeed finite? 

Do we waste peace or treat it carelessly? If so, how? 

Do we cherish peace or respect it?  If so, how? 

Is part of peace choosing our battles?  If we put aside one battle and fight another, aren’t we still choosing a battle over peace?

If we, say, interrupt a robbery, beating the bad guy off the victim, is that choosing peace? If we get between a bully and his target, is that choosing peace?

 

I don’t think that the opportunities for peace are finite. I think that peace is limited only by our capacity to choose it, but we do have to actively and consciously choose it. Maybe that includes choosing battles, maybe it doesn’t. 

I’m still waiting to find out. 

 

Featured Image:

0Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

Featured I

%d bloggers like this: