My son woke up very early this morning, as he often does, wanting the last part of his sleep to be snuggled up in our bed. I love watching him sleep—the sounds he makes; the way he settles his body; his face as it relaxes back into slumber. In those moments, he is completely at peace.
I see that kind of peace radiate from my children often. For example, last evening after dinner, they went outside to do some “gardening.” This consisted of them sitting squarely in the middle of our garden plot, pouring buckets of water onto the dirt, and then shoveling the mud back into the bucket and mixing it up—getting themselves completely filthy in the process. I sat in a chair and watched them become completely immersed in their task in the quiet of the evening. They were completely in synch and at peace.
I wish I could capture that level of peace and put it in a jar and sit on a street corner and then hand out those jars of peace to anyone who wanted one. Along with a sunflower. I mean, how can you not smile when you see a sunflower? Get Your Free Jars of Peace and Sunflowers Right Here!
Because there are so many people in the world that need a piece of peace right now that I don’t even know where to begin. It feels like the entire world has literally caught fire. Every glimpse at the news makes me shudder.
So until I find a way to capture the peace the lives within my children and put it in a jar and hand it out on street corners, I guess I have to find another way to offer peace. Is that even possible? To offer peace? When I look at the unraveling situations in Ferguson or Iraq, or within the minds of so many who battle depression, or in the halls of too many schools where pervasive bullying leads to suicide… when I look at all that, I’m just not sure.
But then I think about this: peace dissipates when it is overtaken by anger, fear, or anxiety. But what dissipates anger, fear, and anxiety? Respect. Love. Support. Empathy. Now—while it’s totally unrealistic to shout at the world “Hey, let's just love each other!”, it is not altogether crazy to think that the way I can offer my own piece of peace to this world is to anchor myself in those things.
And I can remember this when I start to complain about something trivial. Some minor (perceived) injustice. Some “need.” I can remember this when I start to make assumptions about the person across the checkout aisle. I can remember this when someone says something offensive and I don’t say anything as to not cause a stir. I can remember this when I pass the person holding the sign and hoping for help. If I've declared that my piece of peace is by offering love and respect to those around me, then it makes it a lot harder to race through my day with blinders on.
So maybe, in the end, the best we can do is each offer our own piece of peace to the world- simply by starting with what's right in front of us.
What piece of peace can you offer your part of the world today?