Love in the Face of Adversity

Posted on: April 17th, 2013
We will be placing an enormous burden on you. The burden of knowing.”
These were the first significant words I remember hearing upon my arrival at Jonah House in Baltimore for my alternative break immersion. I don’t remember who said it first, but each incredible woman at that house repeated it to us at one point. My world was rocked in the one week away from the familiar and comfortable world of Loyola. I was pushed to the limits of my reason and faith in the most spectacular way possible.
Jonah House is an intentional community devoted to peace, nonviolence and nuclear disarmament. I lived a peaceful, nonviolent life for a week, but Liz McAlister, Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert have been living it for decades. Considered crazy and radical by many, these three women taught me so much about love and forgiveness. For their actions (called plowshares), each woman has served a significant time in prison. They’ve experienced some of the worst of humanity, and yet you would never know it. They love literally every single part of this planet and ache for the peace they know God has promised.
To be around that immense love is incredible.
That’s when I realized that social justice is an entire way of life. It’s so much more than simply protesting injustice. It’s about trusting in God and living the life you preach. It’s not some passing fancy. There will be sacrifices. However, I also realized that this is just one way to live. Liz, Ardeth and Carol are so completely content with how they’ve decided to live their lives, but they know it’s not the life for everyone.
My group was able to participate in peace vigil at the White House at the end of the week. Armed with the knowledge we had learned about the effects of war and nuclear weapons, we took our signs to stand and declare our intentions in the capitol. Yes, I believe in a world without war and violence. I hope and pray for peace.
It’s harder than you think to voice those opinions in a country that prides itself on being a superpower. There will always be those who think war is the only answer and that you’re incredibly wrong or naïve to want to disarm. Liz, Ardeth and Carol taught me that we must love these people as well. Social justice means staying firm and sticking to what you believe in.
Our issue was nuclear disarmament, but there are so many issues to champion. Educate yourself and be prepared to love in the face of adversity. Be patient. It may seem impossible, but we can change the world. Jonah House taught me that.

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