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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Journey of Peace"

By Steve Poole

"Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous."
George Bernard Shaw

As this amazing journey to Northern Ireland begins to come to a close, I am becoming profoundly aware of those things that I will be taking with me.  I don't simply mean the obligatory souvenir shopping.  The most precious thing that I will take from this place are the memories of the people and their stories that have made this such a fascinating and profound experience.

Whether it was the tour of Belfast given by former combatants, or the witness for peace given by those who seek to make meaning out of this conflict, I will remember their courage and willingness to step out into a journey for peace.  I will remember my conversations with Michael Dougherty of the Peace and Reconciliation Group who is still passionate about and committed to the possibility of a lasting peace even when the road is slow and arduous.   I will also take with me the memories of countless people in this city who opened up their lives and their stories to us. Whether it was over a pint
in the pub, a tour guide teaching us about his beautiful city, or peacemakers who gave of their time to share their journey. They shared their generosity of spirit, their humor, their pain and their own hopes, beliefs and dreams.

Peace building through dialogue is not only limited to places that have experienced this kind of struggle and conflict. Most importantly, I take with me new skills and a new understanding of what it means to live a life for peace and justice. 

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