Help from the Book – Sherry Fletcher
Like Peace Pilgrim I grew up blessed by not being involved in an organized religion. My grandmother gave our family the gift of not baptizing my mother. My mother gave myself and my brother the same blessing and I passed this on to my own children. Our family has the freedom to search for our own spiritual truths. I was an inquisitive child, very spiritual, always seeking. I was intrigued by all of the cultures and religions of the world. My childhood dream was to be an Anthropologist. Life brought me down other paths. I didn’t pick the easiest paths, but have learned the most from the choices that I made. Through these decisions, I have always strived for simplicity and spirituality. Many years ago, I frequented a small bookstore devoted to world religions. The owner handed me a copy of Peace Pilgrim’s book. I didn’t read it right away. A few years later, I walked over to my bookshelf and felt an urge to pick up the blue book that whispered to my soul. I sat down and read it. It was the perfect time for me to read this book. My life was getting harder and harder and I was becoming more and more depressed. I read this book over and over again. Peace Pilgrim’s words resonated within me and I began to heal.
One day, I was contemplating a big decision that had to be made. I was sifting through a pile of papers when one of them jumped out at me. “Steps Toward Inner Peace Summary” that I printed out from the Friends of Peace Pilgrim website years before…. The First Preparation says “Assume right attitude toward life, Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause inharmony in your life. Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.” That was my answer. I made my decision, I stopped avoiding what needed to be done and took control over issues that needed to be dealt with. That has brought immeasurable amounts of peace in my life! A lesson well learned!
It is disappointing that every American does not know who this remarkable woman was. It seems that people in other countries know more about her than in our own backyard. The history books need to include her. Future generations would benefit greatly from learning about her message of peace. Her message is not just a spiritual one, but one that is necessary in our world today. Many years ago, I wrote to Friends of Peace Pilgrim asking for more copies of her book. Then I found their website, I learned about the great documentaries. I was hooked. I started requesting books and videos and handing these out to everyone I knew. A lot of people looked at me like I was crazy when I explained to them who Peace Pilgrim was. Some people did not understand why I love her message of peace so much. Some people think that war is necessary, that the world is built for “survival of the fittest.” One person said that war is good for the economy. After hearing such naïve remarks, I knew that I needed to spread her message even more.
I can’t imagine my life without Peace Pilgrim, even though we never met, she has left a permanent mark on me. Not only has she helped me relieve my anxiety and live a healthier life, I have introduced Peace Pilgrim’s book and videos to my family. My mother has paranoid schizophrenia. When she is having a bad day, I tell her to go watch the Peace Pilgrim documentary. She says this makes her feel better. She watches the video over and over. If Peace Pilgrim’s words have such a calming effect on someone with schizophrenia; imagine the good that could be spread around the world if more people were aware of this amazing woman. People would be healthier, happier and have a great inner strength to accomplish anything. Every couple of months I have my children watch the video with me. I required my oldest daughter to read the book, which she admitted that she learned a lot and enjoyed it! Teaching has to start with our children. They want a different world. We need to stop being so selfish and start listening to them.