Peace on Earth

%22Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men%22

I’ve been thinking about peace. We often hear the phrase, “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” I’ve always thought of those words to mean something more global and bigger than anything that has to do with me personally. This year, however, these words have new meaning.

I believe that God wants us all to have our own individual peace. Imagine how the world would change if every one person could find their own peace. Why, we would actually experience goodwill toward all men and women!

Marion D. Hanks alluded to something similar when he said, “How to make the season wholesome? Why, by glancing healthfully inward for a moment. By seeking to bring ourselves more nearly to that measure of wholeness, of integrity, of unity with loftiest desires, of congruence with richest spiritual feeling, of harmony with that person that I would fondly like to be.”

Elder Hanks then said, “The angelic message was “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”  . . . There is something we can do about peace in our lives and peace between us and our families and our neighbors—something—but we cannot control an insatiable world and the decisions of many men . . . .”

We can do something about creating peace in our own lives. That is what I would like for myself and for the many others who are working on healing from trauma. Peace. Peace is the ability to be in “harmony with that person that I would fondly like to be.” I think that sums up the healing path very well.

And after finding peace, let us share it with others. That’s called goodwill!



The original source of Elder Hanks’ talk (BYU Devotional, 11 Dec 1973) can be found here. It’s a great talk to read before Christmas!

Dear Administrators of My Pre-Existent Earth Life

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Dear Administrators of My Pre-Existent Earth Life:

I think there’s been a mistake.

My church leader told me that God knew I could handle the challenges of my husband’s infidelities. He said I was strong and faithful, so I am able to deal with this trial and that I was chosen for this experience.

Here’s the deal. When people were signing up for this life’s coursework, I am pretty sure, actually, I’m absolutely sure that I didn’t sign up for this. If I did, I was confused and didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t feel qualified to take this course. If I was chosen, then I think somebody in charge has overestimated my abilities!

First of all, I’m fairly certain that I filled up my schedule of  life courses with other things. I’ve already completed studies about losing a child, enduring critical financial setbacks, watching a child wander spiritually, experiencing minor health issues, and overcoming mental depression.  Interspersed between these, I attended various short labs dealing with torn friendships, unfulfilled expectations , and self-defeating behaviors, to name a few. Clearly, I have already fulfilled enough coursework for my life and really don’t need more education, especially this particular curriculum that requires so much homework and extended class time.

Though I have already taken a variety of courses, none seemed to prepare me for the advanced course of spousal betrayal. Surely, I should have taken some pre-requisite courses such as “how to identify deceit” or “how to prepare for emotional trauma bombs.” My studies in the past should have included some emphasis on addictions to better prepare me for this advanced work. Obviously, I am not educationally qualified for such a challenging course.

It should be noted that I have no desire to shirk my responsibilities. I think my past transcripts will show that I have attended church regularly, obeyed the commandments as best as I could, and I have devoted most of my time and my energy on my family. You see, my declared major was focused on building an eternal family. I’ve been enrolled in something that is the antithesis of my life’s work. Surely, this sets me up for a possible failing grade as I struggle to learn all new terms, philosophies, and concepts.

How can any of this be fair? I hope you will consider taking me out of this class quickly and return me to the educational pathway I was previously persuing.

Sincerely, from one of earth’s inhabitiants,

Avalon Vic

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Dear Avalon Vic,

After conferring with your professors, it has been decided that whether or not you signed up or were chosen for this coursework, you will continue your studies until you are eligible for graduation. We understand that you may feel your past experiences are inadequate in preparing you for the rigor required to pass this curriculum. Please know that you may take advantage of our divine tutoring program which is available 24/7. Simply bow down on your knees and quietly ponder in order to be in contact with the best tutors available. It is our goal to have every student succeed so we will have our academic coaches, who reside on earth, look after you and offer counsel as needed.

We feel that as you progress in this advanced course of study, you will become more enlightened and understand our decisions regarding your enrollment.

You should feel free to contact us again, however, please note that our decisions are final on this particular matter. We are fully confident that you will eventually find joy in this new endeavor.


Pre-Existence Administration


The Unwelcome Visitor

She usually visits my house when I least expect it. It can be just before I go to bed, while I’m getting ready for the day, or right after lunch. No matter. She has no respect for my time and she seems to prefer dropping in so that I am surprised and unprepared. Rude.

Before any official announcement of her arrival, I can almost sense that she is there. She is almost always accompanied by her black-robed cousin, Fear. In fact, somehow Fear is able to sneak into my house and then she opens the door for my unwelcome visitor and lets her in.

My visitor looks like me, except her eyes are different. Her eyes lack vitality. There is a darkness in her countenance. Her hair is often disheveled. I have heard there are moments of desperation when she pulls at her hair or nervously runs her fingers through her tresses. Her mouth is pulled tight. Her skin is blotchy with patches of pale pink juxtaposed against crimson red. She is ugly, for sure. And she scares me when I see her.

She never says, “Hello.” She simply rushes in and takes over my household. Her voice is loud and high-pitched. The things she says are harsh. It seems like she is able to dig very deep into wounds and produce foul and hurtful statements that sting everyone around her. People cower and try to hide when she arrives. Except me. I cannot escape her. She attaches herself to me and follows me wherever I go. I feel her weight and it drains me of physical and emotional energy.

I don’t like this visitor. It is so difficult to make her leave. I want her to go away and never come back! Sometimes I can get her out of my house, but then I feel her lurking around the corner as she waits for an opportunity to slip back in the door. I need new strategies to keep her out.lock

I need fences around my house that make it more difficult for her to get in.  Maybe I can get a guard dog that will keep her from getting too close. Perhaps stronger locks on my door can prevent her from intruding again.

Until I manage to find more ways to keep her away, I will politely put a sign on my front door:

Trauma is not welcome here.