There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture, depicting peace. Many artists took up the challenge and hundreds of artworks were created, The king looked at all the pictures, but in the end there were only two that he really liked. The decision between the two was difficult.
The first picture was of a calm lake, the water a perfect mirror of the peaceful towering mountains that surrounded it on all sides. Overhead was a vibrant blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The second picture had mountains, too. However these were rugged and bare, jutting beneath an angry sky which lashed rain and strikes of lightning down from the heavens. Cascading down the mountains was a turbulent waterfall, crashing into the water below. The picture did not seem peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?
“Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”