Submitted by Pamela Snell
The way that I understand peace in my life changes from day to day and from moment to moment. Today I am thinking about how personal violence is perpetrated by moments of disconnection. Specifically, disconnection in our relationships with others.
I am currently the age where I go to a lot of weddings. I like to sit next to my wife and re-live our commitment to one another through the vows of our friends and family. I particularly enjoy attending queer weddings, I connect personally with the struggle it takes for queer couples to reach the altar, to have our ceremonies be not only a celebration, but part of a bigger political agenda, an act of queer resistance to the status quo. Unfortunately these celebrations are almost always saturated with latent conflict, maybe it is the aunt or the grandparent who refused to attend, or maybe it is the awkward speech from the sister who insists that she no longer judges the couple. Either way queer weddings seem to be full of disconnections.
So, what does peacebuilding look like in these moments? I know that I would not have wanted a guest pointing out moments of latent conflict at my wedding, but it is hard to sit back in silence and engage fully in the celebration of love between two people when you can feel the violence festering. Maybe the wedding itself is a moment of peacebuilding, a reclaiming of generations of systemic violence against the LGBTQ community or maybe it is smaller and simpler.
In these situations it is the moments of connection that overwhelm those of disconnection, it is the connections that build peace. We must engage with love and let it overpower those who are unsure or uncomfortable. Love is a powerful force and an exciting peacebuilding tool, and with all this talk about weddings, love really is the most important ingredient.