Today's Mental Image:
Which Is Real?
AN ILLUSION OF PEACE
No one knew how it started, but a challenge washed through the town.
"Let's have a peace rally tonight?"
"A peace rally! At 7:00 o'clock exactly, light a candle and walk to Titova Square. It is time today for everyone, every side, to say what is crying in our hearts, 'We want peace!'"
"We cannot come. They will see the light and shoot us!"
"They cannot shoot us all. A mortar shell cannot kill us all. Light your candle at 7:00 exactly and come! As for me, if it my time to die, I will die happily marching for peace, not like a dog sneaking through the shadows only to be caught by a coward's bullet!"
All day the tide of determination rose. This night, they would take back the night; create a moment of peace in the midst of war.
The rumors ran wild.
"Ten thousand people are coming."
"The Muslims are coming."
"The Serbs, yes! The Serbians are joining us!"
" Croats are coming, every single one of them, even Grandmother Tianna in her broken down wheel chair."
The black doctor from Ghana told Katia's mother he would come.
Even in the dark days of war, these verses brought the ray of joy, rejoicing, that the pink Gaudette candle stood for.
At 7:00 exactly, Katia lit the pink "rejoicing" candle. hoping the joy of Gaudette and the excitement of the peace walk would lift her heart too, Katia gave her mother one of her pink stubs.
At exactly 7:00, Katia and her mother stepped out the door.
At exactly 7:00, the Roma girl and her whole clan stepped out the door.
At exactly 7:00, Grandmother Tianna stepped— well rolled her wheel chair—out the door.
At exactly 7:00, Senad, the Muslim Imam, and Latif, Katia's Muslim friend, stepped out the door.
At exactly 7:00, Igor Davidovic, the Serbian grocer, and everyone in every house in every community, stepped out the door as points of light became lines, then trickles, then streams of bright white until Titova Square became a bright sun in a sea of darkness with so many people that all the streets leading to the square became rays shining out from the sun in a child's picture.
Not one bullet whizzed by.
Not one mortar thundered.
As the lights gathered, Serbian soldiers, Croat soldiers, Muslim soldiers, fighting men of all kinds sneaked away into the dark.
Joining the stream of light, they each lit their own candles. Quietly, the soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with the people. Shoulder to shoulder with their enemies. Shoulder to shoulder to say, "We want Peace!"
It was Gaudette! And Katia rejoiced!