peace5.gif (6823 bytes)
(Photo by Jim Burton)

Peace Pilgrim's


Peace Pilgrim, Cologne, N. J.



The beautiful Canadian scenery and the friendly Canadian people made my trip through Canada a most memorable experience. Canada's ten provinces occupy a land-mass about as large as the United States, but only about one tenth as many people live there. I walked into each provincial capital and visited the largest cities in every province. I spoke to many people along the highways, to public meetings in the cities, through the medium of newspapers, radio, television - and my peace message was well received. The Canadians are in a relatively good position as to world peace. They are not manufacturing nuclear bombs, and they have no peacetime draft. During World War II they drafted for domestic duty only, which draft they discontinued as soon as the war was over. They have not gotten as far past the pioneering stage as we have. They are still in the process of acquiring a culture, and, as one of their songs so aptly puts it, they are busy explaining to the Americans that they are not British and to the British that they are not Americans. Things have not yet solidified in Canada - it is a country still very much in the process of evolvement - and that makes it an interesting country.


Canada is colorful in so many ways. No one who travels in the Eastern Provinces can fail to notice the colorful houses. It is not unusual to see a yellow and orange house with a blue roof, or a house whose front is painted green and white and whose sides are painted bright red. The abundant wild berries in the eastern provinces are not only colorful but flavorful. The Canadian scenery is most colorful - the towering mountains and the wonderful rocky seacoast in the west, the sunsets on the prairie, the lakes and hills as one journeys toward the east, the hilly eastern seacoast and the blue, blue sea. Colorful also is the abundant and varied wild life of Canada, for there are still vast stretches of wilderness where wild things can hide. And speaking of colorful, as I crossed the prairie the most perfect double rainbow I have ever seen arched my way. It was so close its colors were reflected on nearby trees - it was so breathtakingly beautiful it was unforgettable.


I sat on wooden bench in a little station lighted by a kerosene lantern and heated by a wood stove waiting for a two hour late narrow gauge train. It seemed as though the pages of history had been turned back 100 years! But I talked with the people who waited with me, and I realized they had more emotional stability and peace-of-mind than those who wait for fast, streamlined trains that arrive exactly on time. All day long - in the process of getting to my walking point in Newfoundland - I had been hitching-hiking over a narrow, winding, dusty dirt highway, full of holes and protruding rocks. At one place a ferry which looked like a crude raft somehow carried us across a swift river. Then there was no more road and I waited for the train. But along that dusty, bumpy highway every Newfoundland car I signalled stopped. When I saw a crew of men working on a building project I knew without being told that the neighbors were lending a hand. In the "outpost" I passed through it was not the custom to lock doors or even to knock before entering a neighbor's home. There is a spirit of not only "live and let live," but even "live and help live." Yes, Newfoundland makes up in spiritual values for its lack of material advancement. However, Newfoundland is growing rapidly. Probably in a few years the road will be finished and paved. And along that newly-paved road will every car still stop to give a traveler a friendly lift? Must we sacrifice real values for material gains, or could we have both? Perhaps the reason material prosperity hurts us spiritually is because others in the world are still cold and hungry. Perhaps if it were for all we could have both.


The pastor of a large United Church in a large Canadian city - who had recently returned from a visit to the Orient - told me that Buddhists are sending out 2,000 missionaries to convert the Christians to the way of non-violence.


I first ran into the language barrier in Spanish-speaking Mexico, where I could speak to people only through my translated message and my smile. Then in the Province of Quebec in Canada I ran into it again. Canada is a bilingual country. The schools in Quebec are conducted in French, and many of the people in Quebec cannot speak English. I had a translated message, and I was offered food and shelter through sign language, but there the communication just about ended. It made me realize anew the great need for a world language. I think a committee of experts appointed by the United Nations should decide as quickly as possible what language would be best. Once a world language is decided upon it can be taught in all the schools along with the national language, so that very soon every literate person in the world can talk to every other literate person in the world. I think this would be the biggest single step we could take toward world understanding, and a long stride toward world peace. When we can talk together we will realize that our likenesses are so much greater than our differences, however great our differences may seem.


As I walked along the highway one day, a man stopped his car to talk with me. He looked at me, not unkindly, but with extreme surprise and curiosity, as though he had just glimpsed a live dinosaur. "In this day and age," He exclaimed, "with all the wonderful opportunities the world has to offer, what under the sun made you get out and walk a pilgrimage for peace? "In this day and age," I answered, "when humanity totters on the brink of nuclear war of annihilation, it is not surprising that one life is dedicated to the cause of peace - but rather it is surprising that many lives are not similarly dedicated."


Evil cannot be overcome by more evil - evil can only be overcome by good. This is the lesson for today - it is the lesson of the way of love. The contest in the world today is between the old way of attempting to overcome evil with evil, which with modern weapons would lead to complete chaos, and the new way of overcoming evil with good, which would lead to (a) glorious life. Much research and experimentation needs to be done on peaceful ways of resolving conflicts. Long overdue is a Peace Department through which those who accept the new way could work. But we need not wait for that. We can work as groups or as individuals right where we are, undertaking specific peace projects, commending and strengthening the good wherever we find it, remembering that every time any inharmonious situation has been brought into harmony something has been accomplished for peace.


This is a crisis period in human history. We who live in the world today must choose between a nuclear war of destruction and a golden age of peace. On the peace front I am aware of two things. The stirring and awakening, which is accelerating, and which I have faith will accelerate sufficiently to turn the tide toward peace. The fact (is) that the tide of world affairs still drifts toward war, and that it will take a real effort on the part of the people of the world to turn this tide. In the face of this crisis situation I dedicate my life to help turn the tide toward peace, using the weapon of love, which is the only weapon that can be used, and I invite YOU to work with me.


You will have peace, people of the world, when you learn to desire the things you cannot have with war instead of the things you cannot have without war.

Physical violence can end even before we have learned the way of love, but psychological violence will continue until we do. Only outer peace can be had through law. The way to inner peace is through love.

I would not wish for you a life without problems, because such a life would be a barren existence, without any opportunity for spiritual growth. It is through solving problems correctly that we grow spiritually.

There is never really anything to be discouraged about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity.

Those who have overcome self-will and become instruments to do God's work can accomplish tasks which are seemingly impossible, but they experience no feeling of self-achievement.

*Editorial corrections added to the original newsletter appear in italicized gray brackets. i.e. (correction)

||Back to Newsletter Index || Back to Peace Pilgrim Main Page ||

Page created by Bruce Nichols,
revised 12/02/99