Do you find peace within the circle of your family; or does meditation or prayer, an inspirational book, or music fill your soul? Wherever the source – how do you keep that peace from slipping away?
Certainly when we’re exposed to sorrowful or earth-shattering news, any semblance of peace and calm seem to disappear, such as: acts of terrorism – both domestic and abroad; heartless school shootings; bigotry and hatred; and even devastating illness. How many times has your armor been pierced by such circumstances?
Too many to count. So how do we find peace amongst the chaos?
We can find peace in many small ways – probably the easiest way to do so is to acknowledge the beauty that surrounds us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a creationist or an evolutionist, the beauty you see is the same. It’s always refreshing when I walk through my local plant nursery, Molbaks, to see the intricacies of flowers and their natural, yet seemingly unrealistic, colors. How did that happen? How can so much detail just happen and we had nothing to do with it? I relish the peace I feel when roaming the rows and rows of flowers and I capture that moment and take it home with me.
And the colors of sunrises and sunsets – what a joy to behold! Even though my house is located in such a way as to not be able to directly see the sun’s rising and setting, I still have the privilege of seeing its aftereffects in the pink and ruby colors of the sky. My mother’s favorite color was pink, so when the sky is beautifully colored in that tint, I credit my mother for this natural artwork, somehow executed from her heavenly resting place.
Celebrating even the smallest of victories in one’s life. Time and again I remind myself to acknowledge the small goodnesses and victories in my life. I learned this practice shortly after having a fairly major orthopedic surgery several years ago. The recovery and rehabilitation were lengthy so I had to take comfort in even the smallest signs of improvement so that discouragement didn’t creep in to rob me of the positive steps I had made towards recovery.
So too is it important to pay attention to all the emotional windfalls that come our way. A huge lottery windfall – such as recently happened (December 2013) in California and Georgia – isn’t the type of emotional windfall I’m talking about. We can experience far more authentic emotions that are not tied to money or things. Someone greets me with a smile or has a word of encouragement that I absolutely needed at that moment? That feeds my soul. I greet someone else with a smile and a hug? Even better – now I’m paying it forward! It’s been said many times before that the richest and longest lasting gifts are those that don’t cost a cent. As trite as it may sound, it’s still absolutely true.
Where or how does one find peace when hit with a wall of hurt – whatever that hurt may look like? In my experience, I have to force myself to look away from the hurt/pain/stress/negativity in order to clearly see some peaceful element, regardless of how small, that will convince me that all is not lost, because I still have this, whatever “this” may be. When we consciously turn away from the wall of hurt, we then have the ability to find some element of peace, somewhere, in our purview. That doesn’t mean that we ignore what is required to resolve the hurt that came our way, but we make a conscious decision to redirect our focus elsewhere so that all the focus isn’t on the hurtful things that have come our way.
Dona Nobis Pacem. I really like this blog entry entitled, Dona Nobis Pacem, from a blog written by Kathy that focuses on her quest to find peace after the death of her mom to pancreatic cancer. To be sure – finding peace is a journey, it’s not just a decision one makes – and Kathy’s article addresses the work required to attain peace. But initially she had to make a decision to simply start on that peace-finding journey, and doing so, she’s nearing her quest. I hope you will visit Kathy’s site and take the time to also watch the video she attached that highlights the song Dona Nobis Pacem – Give Us Peace.