HeartNote, March 26, 2019: The Peace Sign

A few years ago I was in the car with my daughter. We were in mean traffic, the kind that gets so congested and crazy it makes you wish you purchased the car with the Batmobile accessories, like spiked wheel axles and rocket launchers when the lights retract.

When I was finally allowed to merge, I raised my right hand, put my first two fingers in the sign of a "V" and held it there for a minute.

My daughter, being a sarcastic and loving soul, said, "Dad, 1969 wants their fingers back."

After laughing hysterically, I told her that this simple gesture was a statement of grace. It embodied a wish of sustained hope. For those that saw the lights of a promising generation extinguished by war and assassinations, yet elevated by a focus on possibility within a reach toward the stars and a commitment to a better world, the peace sign gave them an ability to communicate all the good within this spirit with two fingers pointed to the sky.

She thought about my response and with some consideration, she replied, "What the hell are you talking about?"

I told her that the peace sign means something. It is now more than just a gesture, it is an exchange of hope. It is a gesture that, even in passing, reminds us that we're in this thing together, sustaining the fundamental energy that binds our friendships, our relationships, and our faith in one another: The acceptance, the ease, the welcoming spirit that assemble the spirit of peace. The common denominator of our commitment to love instead of fear, to cooperation instead of conflict. I let her know that I use this gesture as both "thank you" and "until we meet again." I use it in traffic and at the coffee shop, wherever I think it would do most good.

I stopped using it for a long time, but started again about eight years ago after I saw a picture from a movie of a woman at a festival in Bethel, New York in 1969. I was practically raised by folks like her. In the picture, she seemed out of place, both at this festival and particularly offering this gesture. When I saw it again, I felt that it took great courage to not only be at the festival, but to be captured on camera doing what she did.

Take a good look at the picture. And keep flashing the Peace Sign.


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