This, my friends, has been a long, long year.
I know many had them. A year filled with fevered pitch, pressing issues, and in some cases clear-cut pain. And for those who had a good year, one filled with favor and growth– I know you empathise with the heart break of those who did not. It has been a little under a year since I wrote here. I know why– and I regret letting the dissruption of pain and confusion stop me from the hope writing brings to my life. Stop me from sharing life with those I love to share life with. I did not have peace of mind or heart for much of 2014– my heart hurt, my mind was on overdirve, my will most certainly less than certain.
It doesn’t matter why, really. I didn’t have peace, that was all that mattered. Maybe you didn’t either. The absence of personal, intimate, make-you-get-off-the-matt kind of peace is a hard place to live. It is hard work to stand up when the left hook so strategically and powerfully connected. The taste of blood in the corner of your mouth tells you that all wisdom lies in staying on the mat. If you get up, you may get hit again…and nobody wants that.
“Peace is costly”, says the wisdom of the African elders, “but worth the expense”. Peace in heart and mind and will are just as important as peace in this world. For me, I tried it the other way around for a bit. Fight for peace in the world, and personal peace will arrive on command. No, it takes hard work to midwife peace in any form. Personal peace of heart. A strong presence of mind. And the will to take risks–to dare greatly for the hope of peace.
Oh, and the most important part of peace is the most unexpected– giving up.Letting go. Surrendering not to the mat, or to the left hook, or to the pain, or to the overwhelming statistics, soldiers, casualties–but to the Prince of Peace himself. God was the still small voice of peace amidst the noise. And oh, 2014 was so very noisy. I longed for the quiet harmony that only He could give me.
And so, on to 2015–
This year, I am , in the words of my poet-husband, “relentlessly persuing peace”. Peace in my heart. Peace in my home. Peace in the world. I pledge to #WagePeace. This means change in both big and small habits in my life. This means sacrifice in both big and small places in my life.
This means committment to both the big and small moments of peace– I have prayers to pray. I have apologies to make. I have moments to catch up on. I have words to write, stories to tell and thoughts to think. I have praise for my God, and thanks to sing over my children, my love, my devoted friends who were left more than a little confused.
I have a mountain to climb. For real.
But for now, it feels good to confess. To connect. To commit to #WagePeace with all of me.
And how about you? Are you ready to wage peace with yourself? With the world?
In our home, we have committed the daily offices from the Northumbria Community to memory– a beautiful series of prayers that can anchor your day in peace. If you are on this journey, determined not to turn back, may I have the honor of praying the morning prayer over you? It is a new day– and the sun is rising on peace in this world:
A blessing for those who #WagePeace here and abroad–
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.
Amen and Amen and happiest of years to you and all you love.