Something within Noah seeks peace. I think it is a response to the sensory environments he struggles against most of the day. Or perhaps it is how he is more emotionally “tuned in” to his surroundings…but that is a post for another day. Regardless of motivation, Noah actively seeks peace.
Peace, for Noah, is not merely the absence of conflict. Rather it is a set of conditions where living is marked by harmony. Last week, part of Noah’s peace was shattered when some of the neighborhood kids etched graffiti on the picnic tables near the playground at our apartment complex.
Reporting it to me immediately, Noah could not imagine why anyone would destroy something “so beautiful.” Trying to calm him I said, “Noah, it is just picnic tables. They don’t have feelings.” Noah replied, “But they are there for families to be together on. Now families have to look at bad words and dirty pictures!” He was also distraught because this is adjacent to the playground and now the “little kids” might see those things and “be afraid.”
Peace is marked by places of togetherness where people can gather without fear.
This happened last week and Noah is still upset. Yesterday, I caught him lying on his belly on the porch with a piece of paper, a pencil and my camera. When I asked what he was doing he said, “Scoping out the situation at the playground. I am narrowing down the suspects to find the culprit.” He was using my camera for “surveillance” he said. At one point he said, “I think I’ll just go and try and talk with them about why they did it.” I probably saved his life by talking him out of it.
Now I wonder if I did the right thing. Noah wanted to advocate for peace. We have few enough people in the world who even recognize what it is, much less are willing to speak it into existence. Perhaps I should have allowed Noah to lead me into a conversation with those kids about the graffiti and how it has ruined a part of our world. Maybe we could have made a difference. Maybe not.
Today I am going to work with him to write a letter to the management office about the situation. I am hoping it will provide some closure for him. Then I think we will go to the city park and swing on the tire swing. That always makes him feel more centered.
Maybe it will bring him some peace.