Joanna Figisiak, Poland, counselor: Sandra Tarantino.
The dictionary definition of peace is that it’s a period of harmony between different social groups that is characterized by lack of violence or conflict behaviors, and the freedom from fear of violence. And it’s the most common one. For me peace is so much more. It’s one of the most important words in my life. Peace means freedom, peace means equality, peace means happiness. Peace is feeling safe and secure. It’s like a big hug from your mom after a long, stressful day in school or at work. It’s like the moment when your favourite song starts playing on the radio when you’re stuck in traffic. It’s sitting at home, under a warm blanket, looking at colorful lights on Christmas tree when it’s snowing outside. It’s sitting by the campfire with my friends when one of them is playing guitar. It’s standing in the crowd at the concert of my favourite band and crying from joy, not caring what everyone else is thinking. It’s meeting and being able to hug my idol and then, not believing that this moment was real. It’s going for a walk with my dog while the sun is slowly hiding by the horizon. It’s traveling and seeing places I’ve always wanted to see with my own eyes. It’s sitting at the beach in the dark, drinking cold beer and talking to my best friend. It’s sitting on a meadow and looking at my horse. It’s laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt and I’m crying. It’s hearing the song for the first time in forever and remembering a great moment in your life when this song meant a lot. It’s seeing a smile on my grandmas face when she sees me after long time. It’s seeing the sun rising in the middle of summer. It’s coming back home from a party when it’s already bright outside. It’s helping a random stranger on the street and seeing their smile. It’s sleeping at a train station in the middle of the night because the concert was longer than you expected and you missed your train. It’s the moment after summer storm, when you can go outside and play in puddles like when you were a little kid. It’s when your little cousin is happy to see you and hugs you so tightly that it actually hurts. It’s giving someone a gift that you were so excited about and seeing them being incredibly happy about it. It’s being super tired and going to sleep in your own bed. It’s coming back home when it’s freezing outside. It’s eating dinner with your family, sharing funny stories and being so full with yummy food your mom made, that you can’t even breathe. It’s watching a movie you’ve seen hundreds of times, just because you haven’t seen it in a year. It’s doing something you were incredibly afraid to do and then being proud of yourself. It’s being able to love whoever you want to love, without being scared of anyone judging you. It’s knowing that you have people to come back to, a place to come back to. It’s knowing that you can feel safe everyday.
That’s what peace means to me. Different people can have different definitions of peace. But for a lot of people in the world “peace” is just a word. Just the word that doesn’t mean anything, only because they’ve never experienced it. Some of them don’t know how it feels to be safe. Some of them don’t know how it feels to have a family, to have home, to have food on the table everyday. Some of them live “perfect” lives but they are in constant fight with themselves or with the society that tells them they’re not good enough. Some of them are scared all the time because they can’t express their feeling the way they want to. Some of them hear gunshots everyday. Some of them don’t know if they’re gonna see their family again, if their kids are gonna come back home from school.
My peace has a lot of different meanings. It contains big beliefs and really small, everyday things at the same time. What I try to work on now and I encourage every single person that I come across to do is making sure that everyone in the world is able to know what peace feels like. I know it’s not possible to bring peace to every part of the world. But helping one person feeling safe and secure can change their life. Then it’s possible that they’re gonna do something like that for someone else. And I really think it’s worth it.
“You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will live as one.”