In honor of  recent Veteran’s Day remembrances and those who have given their very lives to promote the intentions of peace and safety for people all over the world, I wanted to share one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems, called Hug O’War.  Imagine the child who is determined to right the wrongs he finds with love instead of violence.  Idealistic, certainly, but something to consider…definitely!

Hug O’ War (a poem by the late Shel Silverstein [Author of A Light in the Attic]

I will not play at tug o’ war
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses
And everyone grins
And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins.

Imagine a world that allowed everyone to win.  What if we didn’t have to compete, or control, or invade, but chose rather to work toward cooperation, mutual understanding, generosity and the things that make great partnerships.  What if we just quit studying about war?   Remember Willie Dixon’s song?  What if we study war no more?

Study War No More

Won’t that be one mighty day When we hear world leaders say
“We don’t have to cry no more”, “We’re givin’ it up, we gonna let it all go.”

Ain’t gonna study, study war no more
Ain’t gonna think, think war no more
Ain’t gonna fight, fight war no more
We’re givin’ it up, we gonna let it go
We’re givin’ it up, we gonna let it go.

These are the dreams of peacemakers.  Certainly, I have great respect for those who protect and defend the price of freedom.  My dad is a veteran and I’m proud of him.  But somewhere in my heart of hearts, is a cry for change.  A few months back, I was on a plane that was bringing a young soldier home to his family and it was heartbreaking to see his coffin coming out of the hold and his tearful family waiting to receive it.  It’s a scene repeated countless times around the world and yet it never seems totally real to me that we can’t come up with more peaceful solutions.  We have years of training, years of intelligence, so much skill in negotiating and teaching.  Peace somehow falls off the list of options.

My intention in this writing is only to bring honor to those who serve and to remind those who make decisions about the lives of others that we realize freedom is expensive and we know that it often comes with the shedding of blood and the loss of life, the price Jesus also paid for our freedom, but it’s a human sadness that cannot be measured.  It’s a human tragedy that will never be fully understood at the loss of one more innocent soldier or innocent family in a village far away.  If we could pour millions of dollars into the strategies that promote peace, that mean we see each other as family members, all part of the human drama, all worthy of respect, then we would indeed achieve some kind of greatness.

In some small way, we can each practice Hug O’War.  We can determine that in our families, and in our communities, and in our neighborhoods that we’ll find the peaceful options.  We’ll look for the mutual understanding, the strength we can demonstrate by hearing each other’s hearts, and the possibility that might be ours if we exercise restraint and generosity and love to each other.  One writer put it like this:

“If there is righteousness in the heart there will be beauty in the character.  If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.  If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.  When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.  Psalm 133:1.  May peace walk with you and strengthen your heart and mind today.

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