Reflections on the coming new year: Peace on earth begins in the home

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 25 2012 1:00 p.m. MST

A man releases a paper lantern along the Motoyasu River in front of the illuminated Atomic Bomb Dome near Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — It is a state of harmony, free from hostility or conflict, but also from the nagging tasks that every person must endure as part of daily life.

But with presents unwrapped and the tree on its way out the door or back into storage, various members and representatives of the community took a moment to ponder what peace means to them and how they can find it in the coming new year.

For a mother, it might only be achieved when the children are in bed, or behind a locked door, while soaking in a bathtub, as Roy resident Natalie Clemens said she claims her peace of mind. Her three young, active boys keep her busy.

"I could spend all of my waking moments cleaning, doing laundry, making meals, running errands and a whole bunch of other, non-peaceful motherly tasks," she said. "Not to mention the fact that I am very rarely alone."

But, Clemens said, "I think that everyone needs to be able to sit back and soak in the quiet reverence that comes from not doing anything."

In the wake of tragedies, such as the senseless Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, the hurricane that wracked the Eastern seaboard in late October, and civil angst that continuously tears through countries abroad, individuals often turn to their hearts to seek their own sense of peace, in hope of a better world.

"To me, peace means being free of fear, having a feeling of tranquility, free from the noise of the world and its negativity," Utah's first lady Jeannette Herbert said.

She said a "love of power has greatly affected peace in the world" and she hopes virtuous qualities, such as love, forgiveness, letting go of pride and having an eye to the future can bring peace in one's life, which, in turn, could change the world.

"If each of us could show more love and kindness, the whole world would be a different place and we could find true peace in our hearts and our lives," Herbert said. "We can't always control what is happening in the world, but we can control what happens in our own homes, in our own community and in our state, by being creators of peace."

Unified Police Department Sheriff Jim Winder said he doesn't believe the world is becoming more violent, but everyone is so connected that talk of chaos spreads quickly.

"If we focus on the here and now and the daily grind, then we find ourselves continually focusing on the unimportant," he said. "We have to find things greater than ourselves to think about."

Regardless of religious affiliation, Winder said that peace comes with the recognition of a greater, higher truth. Finding peace in our lives, he said, "begins with creating an inner peace."

"We need to make time for introspection and to find things of greater importance than the day-to-day things," Winder said. "Turn it off. Sit down. Relax. Breathe."

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet and while not impossible to find, sometimes the state evades various situations, said Jennifer Campbell, associate director at the South Valley Sanctuary, a domestic violence shelter.

"Anyone that is being abused is truly without peace in their lives and they begin to believe that life is a continual fight for survival," she said. "Once a person begins to be treated with respect, we begin to see the person they are and the amazing potential that they possess. It is remarkable what individuals can overcome."

Counting her own blessings — "a gentle husband who loves and respects me and children who are safe and cared for" —  Campbell said, helps her get through each day as she meets and helps men and women in great emotional and physical need.

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