TPJ-1 Day 3: San Diego: Limitations, Celebration, and Faith

Day 2: in the works

Day 3: San Diego, by Josh…

Though only ten or twenty miles from the glamor and commotion of LA, the mountainside bungalow that we awoke in seemed a remote corner of civilization. The sunlight illuminating through it’s wide windows showed the surrounding beauty that the darkness had hidden when we arrived the night before. A gentle brook crawled down the mountain; expansive trees pointed up to it’s peak. From one of these trees, Conor and I periodicaly swung–from the porch, towards the creek, and back—breaking from our computer work.

But soon time came to emerge from the quiet mountain and venture through L.A.’s crowded highways. From within the herd of traffic, we slowly rolled past streets and suburbs, that if they weren’t setting for televisions shows, still were named as if the rest of the world should know their names. But the fame seemed like poor compensation for the gridlock; we prefered the greater road space the further south we moved.

With little time to spare, we arrived at the club house of a cooperative living community, it’s red-tiled roof and flowing vegetation in the yard provided a romantic welcome. Also there to welcome us, among others we would get to know better over the next day and a half, were Brian and Erin.

Brian was the gracious host for our time in San Diego. A man of science and technology—a computer programmer by trade—Brian’s lifestyle reflected his analytical mind. Factoring in what elements were needed to find a tranquil balance in life, Brian knew a little bit of everything, but was also a skilled listener. One of his passions is pushing for the Department of Peace, (http://www.afdop.org/) a bill in Congress which asks for a department that would:

“The Department of Peace would have jurisdiction internationally and domestically. Abroad, it would provide the President with a full array of options for non-violent resolution of conflict and highly sophisticated peacemaking strategies for post-war stabilization, such as those so sorely lacking in Iraq. Here in the U.S., the Department of Peace would have jurisdiction to address drug and gang violence, school bullying, prison reform and domestic abuse”

In addition to Brian and friends from the Dept. of Peace group, another group—Thing Outside the Bomb—was represented by Erin. Several friends of mine back in DC are organizers for this campaign to bring young people from all over the country together in the deserts of New Mexico for a eleven day camp where  the students will learn about the effects of nuclear power from the natives and from survivors of the bomb dropping in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They will also be trained on how to address the problems of nuclear energy and weapons and the scarcity of youth voices on these issues. http://www.thinkoutsidethebomb.org/

Brian, Erin, a several other community leaders gathered in a circle after Conor, Salam, and I had shared our stories. There have been times when I’ve come away from speaking events and been discouraged from complaints, accusations, and bitterness that’s been shared in the discussion after the speech. Of course I appreciate honesty and openess and I hope what we say does provide some level of challenge to our audiences, but in San Diego, there seemed a great calmness about the state of the world. It by no means led to apathy; we were greatly inspired by the work that folks in the group were doing.

It was a lesson in humility; I don’t need to think that I’m some great inspiring leader. Rather, if I say what I believe and share the lessons and experiences of my time here on earth-doing what I can and accepting my limitations- then it’s enough. We then can all, with our own lessons and experiences, gather together, encourage, inspire, and work with each other, not thinking that one person’s work is better or worse than another’s dedication.

Even General Eisenhower said, “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.

Perhaps San Diego has the geographic wisdom that Los Angeles lacks; unable to expand Westward, one’s limitations are recognized; one’s beauty is celebrated; an inspired faith flows from the mountains despite the unknown beyond the sea’s horizen.

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