Peace is experienced in different, and even unexpected, ways. Sometimes, peace is elusive; sometimes, it just happens. My trip to Norway this past summer with my nieces, Anna and Wendy, caused me to reflect anew on peace, what it means to me and to my life, and to the world.
The tour of Norway that my nieces planned for us showcased the beauty of the country - the majestic mountains, the magnificent waterfalls, the splendor of the fjords, and so much more. God’s handiwork! Of most importance, was our visit to Hoddevik, Norway, a small community on the North Sea, where we were incredibly welcomed by our cousins there.
Hoddevik is the ancestral home of my maternal grandfather who left there as a young man and eventually, homesteaded in Saskatchewan in 1905. I had been to Hoddevik twice before. I knew grandfather’s home was replete with old framed pictures and memorabilia of the ancestors; one felt the antiquity of it all.
I was so looking forward to taking my nieces there, only to discover on arrival that his home had been sold. Hoddevik, with its beautiful sandy beach and waves, is ideal for surfers and, grandfather’s home had become a home for surfers. I felt deep disappointment.
A quiet visit before leaving Hoddevik, just sitting in the driveway at grandfather’s home, seeing surfers coming and going, I took time to reflect on his venturesome life. It was then that I felt a sense of peace. I smiled and left there feeling that he would have been just fine with the new life surfing brings to Hoddevik. It was deeply satisfying. It really was ok.
I could not leave Norway without a visit to the Nobel Peace Center. One cannot help but experience peace here. For me, my visit was an inspiring experience of peace. As I toured the Center, I spent most time on the second floor viewing the photos with the names and accomplishments of the many winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Their remarkable efforts for peace in the world were overwhelming and humbling.
In my mind, I could easily foresee that one day, Civilian Peace Service Canada (CPSC) will be depicted here. As I was leaving the Center at closing time, I spoke with a gentleman who worked there. I explained to him what CPSC was about. He seemed interested, so I kept on. I talked about the need and the importance of accrediting peace professionals. I let him know that CPSC will, one day, be recognized here. He lifted his right arm and pointed upwards to the second floor and knowingly smiled, said, “You mean - there”. I replied, “Yes, you can count on it!”
I left, satisfied that I had spoken with him. My visit to the Nobel Peace Center reaffirmed for me that the work of peace is never finished; it is inspired and evolves in creative minds and hearts of persons who are challenged to confront the many outstanding issues of conflict and war to build a world where peace prevails.
There is peace that passes all understanding. God’s all-encompassing peace. Throughout our trip, and especially in Hoddevik and at the Nobel Peace Center, I experienced this peace in so much beauty and hopefulness.
I treasure my nieces for planning our trip to Norway. Among its many blessings, it gave me the opportunity to experience peace in some new and most memorable ways. And I am thankful!
I am also reminded, “Peace begins with a smile”. Peace!
By: Agnes Casselman