One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. stories was one I heard several King aides
telling through a montage in a documentary about his life. Maybe this was the place where I first heard about how difficult it was to fly with King because of the bomb threats that were phoned in and the precautions taken requiring numerous evacuations for flight crews and passengers. On one of these flights, the men recalled experiencing turbulence that deeply frightened them. They each described the various, colorful fits they went through while also observing how calm King remained; perhaps they recalled him reading a bible through it all. Afterwards, Jesse Jackson, or either Andrew Young, asked King how he could remain so calm. To which he responded, “Well, maybe it’s because I made my peace with turbulence a long time ago.”
As King was a seeker of peace, certainly he had not decided that peace was impossible. Instead, I understand his remark to mean that he had accepted that his pursuit of peace would be filled with disturbances. Rather than confront this reality with surprise or annoyance, King had decided to live in full awareness of these conditions and of this reality. To that end, bumps and ruptures become a part of peace and a peaceful life and not alien to it or some kind of obnoxious intrusion. It is possible, then, to perceive the possibility of what it means to live in peace. You can live it, as King did on his bumpy flight, when you accept turbulence as a part of it. Fighting this truth would be the absence of peace.