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Madelyn Smith
Madelyn Smith '13

About  Posts

Hometown: Eastsound, WA
Major: International Relations / Minor: Economics
Currently: Thailand Fellow for Global Playground

A Peace the World Must Know

January 15, 2013 by

Our feet immersed deep in the sand as salty sea mist brushed across our lips and a setting sun danced softly in our eyes, a peace that few will ever know…

Gazing out at the light reflecting off the water and onto the golden sand, I asked her why we went to college when we could live a simple life. We could take off and explore far away in a jungle, roam the mountainside for hours on end or adventure around the world.

We have the privilege of an education, she said, her youthful innocence falling away as a sense of obligation crept into her light blue eyes. Selfishly I would love to feel this peace every day, this knowing that I would live heartily and happy for the rest of my life. There would not be a care in the world, a trouble or a doubt that life is wonderful. She stopped and stared out at the sea. But, I have a responsibility. It is not enough for me to feel this peace, this joy and this freedom. I go to college with the hope that someday I will give another soul this peace that I feel. I pray that my knowledge and understanding of the world will be used to make it a better place for all people. I owe at least that much to the world. As we made it to the big rocks she continued, hundreds of people die of malnutrition every single day from lack of clean water, insufficient food and depleted resources. There is a desperate call for help and the world needs us now. I glanced up to look at her face cast down and distraught. Her voice grew soft as emotion overtook her, my best friend in the world is fighting in the IDF in Israel while one of my former classmates shoots across the border at her from Palestine. They too are friends, but their loyalties to their counties demand that they fight. I am not there; I do not know this fear. I cannot begin to understand the struggles that they face and yet a part of me is with them. Two years ago we sat in a classroom together, all teenagers struggling with thoughts about our identities and questions about our insecurities. We shared insights on war and peace, we dreamed of the possibilities of diplomacy and negotiation. It feels as if those dreams are gone. She looked up to the beautiful sky now reflecting deep shades of pink, red, orange and yellow, sometimes I want to give up, she said. I want to drop out of school, move to paradise and live happily ever after. But I can’t and I won’t. I won’t ever give up. I won’t quit. Why? Because there are people out there that need me. People who I don’t even know who will never know this peace I feel today. At that, she burst into tears.

We continued on down the beach. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live an isolated existence? I pause to think. From time to time I’ve pondered this question, asking myself what if I was the only one. Carefully, as not to offend her I say, to me an isolated life is a life unfilled. We are all called to act, to contribute and share with the gifts and skills we are given. Just as you believe that education is the key to peace, I believe that everyone can play a part in creating it. Regardless of his or her experiences and opportunities, anyone can be that someone. Quietly we continued on both captivated by a flood of thoughts that consumed our minds…

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