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It Is Time for the Rest of Us to Work for Peace

March 5, 2019 by

Last week I watched the news hopefully to see if Trump and Kim would make any progress toward a peace agreement during their summit in Hanoi. My heart sank as I read that the two leaders did not reach an agreement and that their meeting had, in fact, ended early.

I thought of my children who were following the developments with eager hope. “What can I tell them?” I asked myself. I thought about it all morning, and couldn’t seem to find peace in my mind.

Then, during a mid-morning break for tea, one of my colleagues came over to encourage me. She told me, “My husband and I have great hope in the Korean peninsula. See what has happened there over last two years.”

Despite my disappointment, I could not agree more with her. We should not give up too easily. When political leaders walk away from the table, then it is time for the rest of us to keep working for peace. In the end, the co-existence, even the survival, of humankind does not depend on political decisions; peace is not protected by weapons. It’s when we find peace in our hearts, and practice forgiveness to each other, that we can find peace in the global community.

And so it is timely that the children’s book When Spring Comes to the DMZ, which my wife and I translated from Korean, releases this week.

cover of children's book by Plough Publishing

It is a story of a grandfather who lives in South Korea but has family in North Korea. He visits the DMZ, the border between the north and the south. At the border, people are not allowed to visit each other but the animals – the seals, mountain goats, and birds – are free to cross. This is a paradox, yet it shows that the wall between opposite sides is not impenetrable; it can fall down when we believe in the power of non-violence and reconciliation, and when we try to understand each other’s hearts.

My friend Uk-Bae Lee, who wrote and illustrated the book, told me that “one picture book cannot change the world right away, but if it can leave a small impression, if it can move a heart just a little bit, then couldn’t those hearts gather together to change the world bit by bit?”

Think about that. And while you do, I invite you to sing the song of peace that our family posted a few months ago as a prayer for peace in Korea and for the whole world.

Chungyon Won is originally from South Korea. He now lives at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in the UK, with his wife, Aileen, and their sons.


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