Mother of Peace: Episode 43

Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 7: Today’s Growing Pains Bring Tomorrow’s Sunshine, pg 209-213

CHAPTER 7  Today’s Growing Pains Bring Tomorrow’s Sunshine

Dedicate your youth to exciting goals

Each new generation endures heartache. Sometimes, young people compare themselves to others and lament their status.

A desire to give up may pop into their heads and, rather than looking within, they may feel like blaming others or the world they live in. The more difficult our situation, however, the more we have to remember our original dream.

Especially in our younger years, we face countless temptations, endless concerns and unbounded desires. The only way to manage these is to have a strong will, and this means having clearly defined objectives.

The years of our youth are the best time to dedicate ourselves to exciting goals that make our hearts beat faster. Since our youth is brief, it is important to do this without delay. We don’t want to be left in regret. We need to set good goals and know who to partner with to achieve them. If we do not live vigorously and create our own path, we will end up sinking into despair and envy.

Some young people complain that adults tell them to work harder, without giving them credit for the effort they are already making. Some become pessimistic, feeling that no matter how hard they try, they can’t get ahead—and that society is at fault. But they need to take an honest look at how much effort they have actually made. Complaint and distrust will not get us far. Young people need to follow a virtuous path of sacrifice, service and love. “Youth,” by Samuel Ullman, is one of my favorite poems. I like the passage, “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind.” With a purpose-driven heart, anyone, regardless of age, can live a fresh life with youthful passion.

* * *

In August 1987, Hyo-jin Moon, our eldest son, was president of the World Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (W-CARP). In existence since 1966, CARP is a campus organization that promotes principles and raises leaders. In that time of ideological confusion on college campuses, Hyo-jin convened the Fourth World CARP assembly in West Berlin, Germany, in the midst of thousands of pro-communist agitators who were holding demonstrations near the Wall. These agitators knew that CARP was opposed to communism, and that 3,000 young people were attending its annual convention in the city. Groups of them protested and created disturbances outside the convention venue.

On the last day of the assembly, Hyo-jin spoke to the audience and then declared, “Let us now march to the Berlin Wall!” After a two-hour march, braving threats and disturbances along the route, they arrived at the Wall and encountered a large group of communist sympathizers. There, our members claimed the area that was reserved for their rally, pushing these counter-demonstrators away. After an energetic rally, Hyo-jin took the stage, spoke with great passion, and then wept as he led the group in prayer at the Wall. They finished by singing the Korean song, “Our Cherished Hopes Are for Unity.” I feel that our members’ praying and singing together with Hyo-jin that day were the seeds of change: Two years later, the Berlin Wall came down.

The passion of youth transcends borders and breaks down walls. Young people of true passion have the spirit to challenge themselves and the world around them. Many young people today, however, seem to be losing this spirit. Successful cultures train their youth to strengthen and purify their minds and bodies through everything from meditation to martial arts. We should not allow these traditions of training our youth to become relics of the past. We should revive them to create schools in which young men and women can strengthen mind and body and discover their true purpose.

Turn passion into purpose, purpose into principles

As my husband and I traveled throughout Korea and the world, we were deeply saddened to see young people buried in a bleak reality, giving up on their dreams and wandering aimlessly without goals. We saw others who were setting lofty goals but could not accomplish them by themselves. Out of concern for this, in 1993, I went on a speaking tour to guide Korean students at more than 40 Korean universities. It was a long and challenging tour that took me to virtually all the universities in Korea. In several instances, students of differing religious or ideological persuasions opposed my coming and sought to turn me away at the gate. But I persevered and, in the end, I spoke at all the universities. 

On this foundation, my husband and I created the Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP) in Washington, DC, in July 1994, with representatives from 163 countries. People young and old, idealistic and full of energy, gathered with the heart of “Love for God, Love for People, and Love for One’s Nation.” Everyone felt strong resolve to realize true families and manifest good values in their lives.

After the inauguration, we headed out into the world with the ambition to set up branches in 160 nations within less than a year. The eager responses we got illustrated the burning aspirations of youth. One of YFWP’s signature achievements was to bring together youth from North and South Korea in conferences on the principles of peace as first steps toward the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

YFWP’s core messages and activities are now blossoming through organizations such as the recently founded International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP), Young Clergy Leadership Conference (YCLC) and Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYAM). The Generation Peace Academy (GPA) reaches youth in their gap year between high school and college, as does the Special Task Force (STF). These are service and education programs taking place in the United States, Europe and Oceania. These streams flow into CARP, which is ever more active connecting students and professors on college campuses. The goals for all of these programs are to raise up exemplary, loving individuals and families that emphasize purity in love and service to others as an expression of their relationship with God.

Keeping one’s mind and body healthy, strong and pure is a lifelong task, and its importance is greatest during our youth. When we are young, we stand at a crossroads. We have to decide whether to take the road that satisfies selfish desires or the road toward a great dream. As we begin the stage of life following childhood, we should be beautiful young men and women ready to launch ourselves into the world with the courage that comes from having great dreams. 

The best training is on the ocean

A small stream ran behind my hometown, the village of Anju. Except in the middle of winter, when everything was frozen solid, the trickling sound of running water could always be heard. I became friends with that water and learned many truths from it. Water always flows from above to below. Water embraces everything; it changes its shape to fit whatever contours it meets. In addition, water has duality. It can be peaceful and romantic when still, but if it becomes angry, it can swallow everything in an instant.

That’s why the sea can be frightening. I dearly love the sea, as God’s deep will can be found within it. My husband also loved the water. Even during our busy schedules, we would find ways to visit a river or the sea. We didn’t go solely to admire the scenic beauty or enjoy a leisurely fishing trip. We rode rough waves to tell the people of the world that humanity’s future is found in the sea.

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