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Elusive Peace

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
As scriptures go, this one is my favorite to read, again and again; to ponder and consider for moments on end when I have the chance to be quiet within my own thoughts. The transitory nature of my religious beliefs over the past few years notwithstanding, my life has turned into a quest to find that point, that sweet spot where my heart is not troubled.
I won’t give up the idea that peace exists out there, somewhere. I have experienced it, held onto it for a little while. What was it like? If you can imagine each perfect moment, every fist pumping this-is-the-best-day-in-my-life feeling of uninhibited jubilation rolled together in a moment of calm fulfillment, then you have a glimpse into this elusive state of peace.
In my previous life, I was certain I knew the direct route to peace. It was along the road to strict obedience. I knew that if I could just try hard enough it would land in my lap one day and all of my strife and pain would be a mere memory. I’ll admit that I never found it that way. Peace as reward for action never panned out; there was always another hill to climb, something else I had not done quite right. So, when that state of freedom never came to me, I was left holding guilt and personal failure like a gun pointed inward. Each time life became a struggled, I fired off another shot. My fault, my fault, my fault. The goal of peace slipped further and further into the nebula.
As my life in the church of my youth imploded, I began to redefine the concept of peace. If peace is not found by just following a set of rules, where is it? Is there hope for peace? Can I finally experience the lightness in my step, the chance to take a deep breath and sigh for lack of anxiety and fear?
Along the path, dreary clouds seemed to threaten the quest. No sweet melody, no walk in nature took away the stings and the barbs that rained down at every turn. Peace began to feel lost to the struggle.
It was then that I began to realize the harder I struggled, the farther I was from peace. Something in holding on to anger, no matter how justified, seemed to be the barrier. I wasn’t grasping at something that wasn’t close enough to reach.
I was running away from it as fast as I could.
I have not seen a perfect formula; a recipe printed somewhere that holds the secret to finding peace. I steal it in moments. It comes to me that way. I spend a lot of time outdoors; nature seems to be a portal to it. John Denver captured it when he wrote: Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams/Seeking grace in every step he takes/His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand/The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.
Peace is held in the eyes of good friends, those who have you tucked away neatly in their hearts. Maybe that is what Christ meant in the scripture when he said “not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Sometimes the world can be harsh, cold, and unforgiving. The warm touch of a loving friend is as close to the divine as you can get. That may be where peace is the most abundant.
So I seek and I try, and I always will, for those moments of grace. I relish them when they come. The world can pass away around me and I will savor the moment. I have not given up on peace. I hope I can be a peace giver to others…especially to those true friends whose hearts are my refuge.
When it feels too far away, beyond your grasp, don’t give up. Let anger and fear slip away, don’t resist the hurt that comes from change, it is part of the process of healing. Give yourself over to the beauty of a sunset; lose the world in the spontaneous smile of a stranger.
Peace is not the panacea for the troubles in your heart; it is the calming warmth that tells you everything will be alright. When you find it, share it. Pass it around and when it comes back your way again, hold onto it for as long as you can.
Peace be with you.


Ron aka Diogenes said...

If only I/we could find that peace that Christ describes. The topic of "peace" --particularly peace of mind is something I/maybe all of us are deep down seeking. I live in a world of non-peace as a litigator and yet I try to find it and help others to find it amidst disappointment that we all must endure.
I appreciate your thoughts/sentiments and sharing this with us. keep up the good work and thoughtful writing

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who we are

Welcome to The Peacewriter.

We all want to belong somewhere, to someone. It is a basic human need.

If you have ever experienced a period of doubt or questioned your beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that this is not a minor thing. It is tantamount to a crisis, and one that can be life altering.

Lose your testimony, and you stand to lose everything that matters.

There are those who exist on the fringes of the Church, who feel disenfranchised, even unwanted. If you are single, gay or lesbian, feminist, atheist, or uncorrelated, it can be tough to feel like a part of the community. You may feel that you do not belong.

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If you have ever loved someone who endured a faith crisis, you know that there are a lot of gray areas. Uncertainty is the dominant force; black and white become moot points.

Those who have walked the same path share a common bond, understood by few who have not traveled the same road.

This is the place to share common experiences, to find a voice, to be heard. This is the place to seek after peace, and to find it in the common ties we share.

This is The Peacewriter.

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