If you are connect to me through any type of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+) then you know that my first post of the day is always the same:
Peace be with you.
It's a non-denominational variant of the Christian greeting used in the ceremony called the Passing of the Peace. The worship leader begins by saying "The Peace of the Lord be with you always," and the congregation responds "And also with you." The members of the congregation then turn to each other and repeat the greeting, receive the response, and then pass it on to others (usually with a handshake).
I started using the greeting during Lent as a way to help me focus my thoughts and set the tone for the day. If one starts out wishing peace to all, it makes it easier to bear the slings and arrows of the day with equanimity. I also resolved (for Lent) to use the phrase in response to any post or tweet I strongly disagreed with, instead of firing off something snarky or harsh.
It worked well. I found myself passing the peace quite often to my House Representative Eric Cantor, but so be it. I actually felt better doing so then if I had responded in kind (or rather, unkindly). And so after Easter I decided to just continue the practice.
And something interesting began to happen. I started to get folks responding with the phrase "and also with you."
Now that's the way to start the morning! I can only hope that everyone continues to pass the peace along as they go about their day.
Yesterday I received two particularly pissy emails from two different people about two different problems. There was a time when I would have matched tone and intent and had at it. Instead, I let the emails sit, realized in one case that they were right, and in the other it didn't particularly matter.
I answered the one in a professional and calm manner, and ignored the other. And today, things are different (and better) with both people because of it.
So if you see me post "Peace be with you," then you'll know I've signed on for the first time that day. And while you don't have to respond, if you would like to pass that message on to others, then we all might make the day a little better.