The Pallets Can Wait

Mother Teresa once said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”  It seems obvious, I know.  Go home and love your family. But think about it.  We schedule appointments, schedule parties, schedule work commitments, schedule time with friends and just about anything else.  I realized a short time back that I don’t schedule time with my family like I do other things.  At that moment I began being deliberate in planning more time with my family so that other “things” didn’t fill up the calendar and purge my days of time with those I love the most.  I wanted to “go home home and love my family” more.

Today I planned “family time”, but wasn’t sure what the time would be filled with until yesterday.  I had decided on visiting the Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne (yes I know it wasn’t “going home”, but we were going to be together  doing something inexpensive  that we’d never done before.)  Just before we left I looked at the pallets in the garage that needed to be dismantled so that I could finally finish the pallet wall project I started weeks ago.  I started to rationalize how the kids didn’t know we were going to the Conservatory so I could take advantage of the beautiful day.  I could pull my saw out onto the drive.  I could spread the lumber out to visualize it’s placement.

STOP!

It is family day.  You wouldn’t blow off work, church, or friends for a project that only benefits you.  Don’t do that to your children either.  Teach them to be present in the moment.  Teach them that people are more important than projects.  Teach them that your word is your bond.  If you say family day then mean it.  Mean that you are going to be making new memories no matter how big or how small. (This was the dialogue I ha  Id with myself.)

I walked back into the house looked at the unfinished wall and thought, finished or unfinished this is still home to 7 people and each of us really wants more time and love from the others.  So  I am going to offer them more time and more love today.  After all, I don’t just want them to know the love I have for them.  I want that love to spill out into the world.  I want them to show others that people are more important than projects.  I want them to change the world one act of love and peace at time.

We went to the Conservatory and even took my young nephew along.  The pallets can wait.  I didn’t feel disappointment or regret for not working on the wall.  Instead I felt peace for investing in my family, for investing in the change I want to see in the world.

For the past few Decembers my dear friend Josh has taken a personal journey to peace.  He has since beckoned others to join him in seeking peace for 25 days throughout December.  Be it through writing, drawing, music or any other expression, he challenges others to seek, reflect and experience peace.  Then the goal is to share it with others so that they too may reflect on peace and in some way take peace for their own and consequently share it with others.

visit www.254peace.org to enjoy peaceful reading and other expressions.

I Know Peace

This challenge to seek peace is so good for my soul. Driving down the road today I turned off the radio and drove in silence. I do this from time to time if I have something to contemplate, or if I want to talk to God, or sometimes just to be absent of noise. Today I did this to revel in peace. I thought to myself, there is so much peace to be experienced so seek it. I found it looming everywhere.

As I looked across the cool, barren corn field I saw it’s quiet stillness as peaceful. The slow effortless movements of the clouds as they transformed from one cotton candy-like piece of art into another, seemed peaceful. Crisp tall trees void of their beauty and splendor extending their arms to welcome visitors from nature…I saw peace. A rare sighting of a lone bluejay as he descended onto a fence row evoked a feeling of peace.

In this 30 minute drive I experienced peace in the long-standing roles of nature. As I pondered nature I noticed each piece knew it’s role and was content in it. So for today, I will follow suit. I will acknowledge my role and be at peace in it. I am a mother. I am at peace with that. I am a wife. I am at peace with that. I am a daughter. Peace. I am a friend, a nurse, and a worship leader. Peace, peace and peace.  The role that brings me the most peace is that of child of the One True King. Today I feel peace.

Nothing has changed in the tasks and challenges of today except my perception.  I know my role.  I know  peace.

 

For the past few Decembers my dear friend Josh has taken a personal journey to peace.  He has since beckoned others to join him in seeking peace for 25 days throughout December.  Be it through writing, drawing, music or any other expression, he challenges others to seek, reflect and experience peace.  Then the goal is to share it with others so that they too may reflect on peace and in some way take peace for their own and consequently share it with others.

visit www.254peace.org to enjoy peaceful reading and other expressions.

Where to Begin

For a couple years now I read this 25 Days of Peace blog with curiosity, excitement, wonder, and awe. This year, having an opportunity to be a part of it, poses a whole new set of emotions. Seek peace? Bring peace? Have Peace? Where to begin?

There’s an old song that says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Most of my life I believed that song was instructing me to go out and make peace, initiate peace with others… keep peace with others. This morning, by the light of my Christmas tree I had an epiphany. I was interpreting the lyrics slightly wrong. Maybe I was supposed to initiate peace by beginning with me…within me.

After accepting the challenge of seeking peace this December I decided to take it very seriously. So I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. I knew the house would be quiet and distraction free. I would have about 45 minutes or so before I needed to get ready for work so I could really contemplate peace. I walked down stairs, not with the usual dread of getting “up and going”. Not with the hurried calculations of how long I have to perform each task and still leave on time for work. This time it was a slow walk to the family room at the back of the house. I fell softly onto the sofa, draped a blanket across my lap, and quietly whispered, “God teach me about peace”.

I sat quietly waiting for some grand revelation about a scripture to seek out or an act He might be calling me to perform. In the quiet I started humming to myself the tune of “Let there be Peace on Earth”. The melody didn’t last long because I wanted to hear what God needed me to hear. So I resumed my silence and paused me thoughts. At first the stalling of my mind was a welcomed change from my typical zigzagging thoughts. But soon it felt uncomfortable and became difficult to remain absent of thoughts, concerns, plans, ideas. That’s when it occurred to me. I knew where to begin.

For a few quiet moments I was at complete and total peace. The kids weren’t arguing or in need of my assistance. My husband needed nothing from me at the time. There were no time constraints or work demands. There wasn’t a plea for my help in rescuing animals or starving children rolling across the television screen. There wasn’t a volunteer roll needing to be filled. My heart wasn’t breaking for war torn nations or starving families. My thoughts were not of my own stress or obligations. I was simply at peace and it felt good.

Though the peaceful moment was brief the peace within me was not. I offered a hushed Thank You, rose from the sofa, folded the blanket, and began to slowly ascend the stairs. The peace I felt allowed for me to feel the purpose I had this morning. I wasn’t mindlessly performing tasks to ensure I arrive at my job on time. Instead I felt purpose in getting ready to go into the hospital. Purpose in being part of great team. I felt as though I had more to give my patients and my employer. Something about starting the day with a peaceful moment allowed me to have more peace to share with others.

It had occurred to me that I can be most effective in bringing peace to others when I indulge in peace myself. I am so busy trying to serve others, help others, and worrying about how I can do more to help more that I was creating unrest in my own spirit. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. That’s where to begin.