There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he thought really captured peace, and so he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But they were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But upon closer inspection, you could see behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. And nestled in the bush sat a mother bird on a nest. There, in the midst of a storm and the rush of angry water, a mother bird had built her nest and sat upon it … in perfect peace.
This was the picture that won the prize because the King realized that . . .
Peace is not the absence of conflict, not the absence of storms, not the absence of rough waters, but calm and serenity right in the midst of it.
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