This morning, I got up late and started jamming my children’s assorted legs and arms into jeans and hopefully clean shirts. Food was shoved into mouths, dogs were yelled at for throwing up on the carpet–for which one sulked and the other ran away. We peeled out of the driveway and discovered on our way to daycare that someone had forgotten the lunch on the counter. Blast! Action: retrieve lunch, drop off wild things, and apologize for being late to work, where someone had been waiting for me. And so the whole day goes, thrown off by that one mistake early on.
Peace can be hard to find, even for just a moment. Breaking the cycle of frantic worry in daily life takes mental effort. So how does one capture it, and when captured, hold on to it? Can it be caged, and will it survive? No, it cannot be fed tidbits of seconds and expected to stay around.
Peace must be sought after; be honored with time, and courted with effort.
There are always little choices throughout the day that can result in peace or frantic catching up. The other day I was riding my horse. We were working on making her lope (faster than a trot, but not a gallop) in a slow, easy circle. It should be so easy! But she was worried and it showed. She was uncomfortable to ride, and the whole circle broke down into an out of control gallop. Worry, fear, and doubt in both of us made the whole thing become a frustrating exercise. My mind was tired, my butt was tired, and my back hurt as she was chugging like a freight train, trying to catch her breath.
We stopped. I got off. I sat down in the arena sand to get some control. Why couldn’t we connect? Why was she so upset? Why couldn’t she get this simple thing right? Through the fog and anger in my brain a little melody rang. It was the song of a meadowlark in the sage. Suddenly, I noticed the air was fresh and clean. The sunshine turned the hills to gold, and the smell of sand and hot horse mixed with that of dry grass and sagebrush delighted me. Peace flooded my soul like a locked up thing who has suddenly found an open door. I heard a voice inside, which I believed was God himself: She is worried because you are mad. Your anger pushes her into making mistakes, which results in more anger.
I was affecting her by my negative emotions, so she feared me as the one in control. I stroked her soft neck and apologized. She dropped her head and relaxed. I thought about why I liked her and how she is a gift to me, and then I got back on. I kept the song of the meadowlark in my mind…the sun, the air, the peace. We started again on a different foot.
The circles became peaceful; running through it all was a vein of peace like gold. In the midst of the mistakes and efforts to do right was a sense that the world did not hinge on whether or not we got this one thing.
I found my peace in seeing a bigger picture. Next time you are overwhelmed by small tasks or frustrating situations, stop and listen to God’s voice of peace—it is available for you, you only have to choose it and savor it.
Photo Credit: (from left)