I love clarity, clean lines, clear distinctions. I loved the shadow board in my grandpa’s garage that had an outline of each tool on it, so he knew if something was missing and where it went when he was done with it. It gives me great satisfaction to clean my kitchen as I cook so there isn’t a huge mess at the end. It’s not less work, it just makes me feel better. Like I have some control over the mess. These things help me with peace.
We like to think about peace in a linear way. In terms of cause and effect. First, we do this, then we do this, and the result will be that. We do it with all kinds of things. Some things are actually like that, but many things aren’t. Peace sure isn’t. There is no qualified method for peace. There are things we can do to increase our chances at it, but there are no guarantees. For a person like me, who likes to have steps, this thought is maddening. There isn’t a sermon or book that lays out seven steps to peace that works for everyone. I want badly for that not to be true.
Jesus taught in parables and rarely gave a definitive answer when asked a question. Ultimately people are looking for peace. The Kingdom of God is said to be a place where peace is abundant. Where is that though? Some people say it’s Heaven. Some say it’s our job to create it here. Earth as it is in Heaven. I’d say probably both. Is there no hope for peace on Earth? I think there is. I’ve seen it in people, so there must be hope for all of us. Likewise, if there’s no hope for the future, it’s hard to move forward.
Jesus’ path to peace in this life is not magical. It’s rooted in our actions and attitudes. In our awareness. Thousands of years after the Bible is assembled, and we still wrestle with it. Peace is not an easy path. It takes wrestling. One of the keys to finding peace is in what we choose to do battle with. What is my neighbor doing wrong? What are their sins? Wrong battle. Who is my neighbor and how can I serve them? Getting warmer. Our awareness of the sins of the other don’t get us closer to peace. In fact it can put another layer in the wall between us and our peace. Our awareness of the other as a person gives a better path to find peace. It gives the love of God that flows through us a place to flow to. It keeps it flowing. When we focus on the wrong things we are working against that flow. We all know a person like that.
Today I’m trying to see and hear people in their own context instead through mine or the one I think they should be in. I’m attempting to live out the truth that I can only change myself. I’m trying to understand life is far more complex than I previously thought. Living simply and expecting life to play out simply are two different things. Sometimes it’s hard to clean up as you cook. Sometimes the kids use the tools in the garage to “fix” something and leave it in the yard all winter to get rusty. Sometimes we have to make some progress and lose it to gain a little more. Today I’m learning to be along for the ride. Peace is waiting to be found all along the journey. More about that tomorrow.