My friend and senior broadcast analyst Gregg Hersholt said I came across eloquently. Yikes. I’m really grateful to Gregg and my media friend, John Yeager, who has coached me in this media avenue. Never thought I’d be on the radio or television.
There’s this thing I need to say. When I travel, most of those who serve me at the airport are immigrants. At least people of color. Today was no exception. I met Abu just now at Dulles international. He’s from Bangladesh. Muslim. I hesitated in asking more than just doing my transaction. Didn’t want to make a mistake or a fool of myself. Geeez Lars, get over your self preoccupation.
“How do you feel about what’s going on sir?”
I finally mustered the courage. He responded, gently. Timidly. Not a tone of anger or recrimination or anything of the sort. He said,
“it’s heavy, not good.”
Then we talked about how we both yearned for understanding and love between different groups. Since he’s Muslim we talked about our respective faiths and how it teaches us to love others. It was an important conversation for me in these tense days. Abu is a real person. He cares. He gave me the best smile I’ve seen all day.
(some journal thoughts and questions from a few weeks ago)
I need to visit my Muslim friends this Friday at the Mosque. Muslims are my friends and I need to stand with them in these times. I’ve got many questions.
“Do they fear now more for their lives, their families, their futures here in the US?”
In my mind however, I’m also wondering about some of my other friends of color–even my Mexican niece.
As a white person (and also part of a faith community which seems to have voted in an administration committed to a slew of policies and ideas about the “foreigner among us” that I find hard to align with the Bible), I’m asking myself an agonizing question!
“Why did this election have to be shaped by the narrative that one group (a subset of white America) was losing their grasp on the American Dream, or becoming less secure because of the presence of others among us?”
I think that is a lazy proposition to a more complex problem and will only guide us to wrong solutions. So many questions. I’m trying to form answers but it seems an undergirding fear guides us to wrong solutions and closes our ears to appropriate responses that in the end truly address what is happening in our world. My work is peacemaking, building bridges of understanding and friendship with the “other”. And in that I will continue tomorrow, and the day after that, and the one after that. Listening. Learning. Loving others. And quite honestly being loved by the “others” among us. I think I’m taking my ques from Jesus, from how I read my Holy Book. I love my work. And I truly love Jesus. I love my friends from other tribes. I’ve discovered they are much like me when I cross over borders and break down walls of suspicion and mistrust. It has made my life so incredibly rich and full to be on the other side! And though the walls that divide us just got more building materials I know they still come down when we reach out with a genuine heart of love and respect. But I do fear for my friends that don’t look like me tonight. And I pray for peace, justice, love, understanding and hope.
Here’s a visual tour of my journey of peacemaking over the last month.
Thanks for your interest in this year’s calendar. I’m looking forward to next year’s edition already, planning a few special photo trips including some hiking in the North Cascades. Keep posted. Until then, Know Peace yourself and Make Peace in the world and communities around you.
Feedback is already coming in on this year’s calendar. Know Peace. Make Peace. Check it out below. Grab your’s before they are sold out.
“The pilgrim worried that sometimes he would not have much time to care for his love relationship with God. Then the Lord spoke to him, and answered his unspoken question: “Do you have only one minute? Hem it with quietness. Do not spend it in thinking how little time you have. I can give you much in one minute. The pilgrim sat by the water, and his dear Lord said to him: As the ripples of the river glance up to the light, let your heart glance up to Me in little looks of love very often through the day.” Amy Carmichael
What others are saying about this year’s calendar:
“We love your calendar! My sister uses hers at her work place. I think it is where she goes when she needs to get grounded and centered in God’s beauty around us.”
“Santa didn’t come yet, but it feels almost like it. Andrew Larsen’s calendars arrived. More beautiful every year.”
“Got your beautiful calendars in the mail today! Thank you!”
“You have the most awesome pictures!”
“Got mine in the mail yesterday. Thanks, Andy. It’s beautiful”
“Spectacular images that illustrate one of my ‘go-to’ psalms…Just what I’ve been waiting for to ‘gift’ my New Year with blessing! Thanks, Andy!”
“We received our calendars this week– so beautiful and I loved all the quotes! We are giving them to co-workers and friends for Christmas– a gift focused on peacemaking seems especially important this year after the divisiveness and negative rhetoric of the presidential campaign!”
“Absolutely beautiful and awe inspiring!!”