The Cost of Peace

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This should have gone up on day one. It should have. Today there are no should ofs. Today there are only opportunities.

Last night within the realm of interactions there came a boundary crossed. Normally when different boundaries were crossed it was met with silence and then later anger and disdain. The conflict that was experienced kept bouncing around. It almost erupted into a full on conflict.

This time the reaction was different. Yes I WAS angry. But I paused. I prayed. I slipped into another person’s shoes and thought…I value this relationship. How can we solve this and move on.

The thing about peace is that it is not passive. It is active. It will take on a life of its own. It colors the world with a different way of seeing and knowing. Peace is messy. Peace is vulnerable. Peace is reconciliation. Peace is a journey.

After the conflict was resolved there was a sense of connection and sharing. Hearts were open and it was beautiful. There was laughter and tears.

Last year my journey was with the Prince of Peace…this year? it is responsible and responding in peace.

Start

Peace? Is that you? It’s been a while. We used to be friends. Things have changed. Can we try again?

You know that feeling when you’re walking and suddenly you become aware of your body and every movement goes from feeling automatic to extremely deliberate, and then you start to lose the rhythm of the whole thing and wonder if you’re doing it right, then it feels like everyone is watching you and it’s all you can do to not trip over your own feet and face plant into the cement? You have thoughts like, “Just look natural.” and “Is this how I normally walk?” or “I must be going crazy. Walking shouldn’t be this hard.” That’s the kind of season my whole life is in. On one hand, I finally kind of feel like an adult at 33 years old. On the other, not much is familiar and some of the simplest tasks take more energy than they should, making me feel like a lost little boy.

Between the last four years of having my faith and worldview turned upside down and the political climate of the last presidential season, cynicism has been looming on the doorstep of my mind for a long time. Inner peace has been an easy achievement for me most of my life, but a person can only endure so much. I’ve been writing for hours. When I read back over it, there’s not much hope in it. Hints of humor and rambling, but little hope. Peace is hanging by a thread, which is why I jumped at the chance to participate in the 25 days of peace. My hope is that every day we get just a little closer to it. Even if it’s just a little. Progress will to be celebrated.

For today, I have been good enough. I know, I know, good is the enemy of great. Forget about that for today. Today I did good enough. Am I breathing? Where else do I need to be? Nowhere. At this very moment nothing is missing from my life. We have to start somewhere, and good enough is a great place to start.

-Adam

Day 1

At the end of a fairly typical day, surrounded by the stresses of work, politics, and life, I heard a Christmas song come on the radio. This was nothing new. WBCL has been playing Christmas music for several days, but today the music froze me in my tracks. I was compelled to sit down, and mentally absorb the beautiful, peaceful lyrics. To my surprise & joy, the stresses I had been concerning myself with began to melt away. I was blessed with a moment of peace. A calm from the storm. A time of silence where I could reflect on the goodness of God, the remembrance of who He is, and how He (not I) is in control. After a few moments, the song was over, and I slowly floated back to reality, but with a revised awareness of the fact that I don’t need to burden myself with every stressful event happening in the world. Sufficient for tomorrow is it’s own worry. Surely, I can’t bury my head in the sand, and wish my problems away. There are certain matters that must be addressed in my life. But I don’t have to be a fishing net for all things negative in the world. I choose to handle the problems in life that God has entrusted to me – and let Him handle the ones that He has not.

Full (#1)

I ate way too much for dinner tonight.

I had been sitting in front of the computer, procrastinating, not writing my first post for 25 DOP, when my phone rang with an offer to join a friend for dinner.  Since I knew I was working against a deadline, and really should stay focused on getting my post done, I promptly decided to join him.  Which is the way my brain works when I am up against a deadline.  I make procrastination an art form.

I digress.

We went to a nice little Mexican place nearby, and I ordered my normal order.  It arrived incredibly quickly, and I dug in with my typical fervor for delicious food.  We sprinkled conversation over our meal, small things, work things, future plans, it was a fairly typical dinner conversation.  It was about midway through that typical conversation that I realized I had made a mistake.  A terrible, terrible mistake.

I wasn’t hungry.

I had spent most of the time before dinner snacking on crackers and cookies.  I had probably eaten my normal dinner quantity in random snack foods.  I wasn’t just not hungry.  I was full.

I digest.

As I drove home in a surprising amount of stomach discomfort (I couldn’t just leave that beautiful meal there to get cold!) I started to think about my life choices.  I should have eaten less, or I should have waited for the invitation that I suspected would come.  My friend and I talked about getting dinner together before I left work, I just couldn’t wait to satisfy my hunger.  So instead of waiting for the meal that I normally enjoy so much, I filled up with the garbage I didn’t have to wait for.

How many times do we fill our own lives with garbage instead of waiting for what we know we really want?  How many times have I bought something that I knew was going to just be buried under a pile of clothes I don’t wear?  How many times do we eat, when we are already full?

As I sit, typing, with an aching tummy, I find that being full has not brought me peace.  In fact, it may be a while before my stomach feels peaceful again.  As I sit, typing, with a full schedule and so many plans, do I find the peace that I so desperately long for?

What if I spent the next 24 days focused not on getting my fill of peace, as though I were a bear preparing to hibernate through a long winter, but rather, making room to be filled?  If I clean out parts of my life that are filled with junk, how much more satisfying will those moments of peace be?  What if I tried to share the things I don’t need with those around me who are starving!  How different would this world be if we all ate just enough, and shared the extra that fills our lives with unnecessary pain?

Instead of racing to the next Christmas party, or speeding down the congested streets to buy that one last necktie for dad, what if we found a way to cherish the moments we have together.

When you are hungry, even the smallest morsels of food are fulfilling, rewarding.  When you are over-full, even the most exquisite foods can be a chore to eat.

I want to be hungry for peace.


Originally posted at joshuastairhime.com on 12-1-16


25 Days of Peace has returned again!  This year you can check out the action on Facebook, or at 254peace.org!  I can’t wait to hear from some of my favorite voices as they wrestle with peace, and what it means in their life during this Christmas season.  

Mystery

In the stillness of the Bethlehem night a Mystery was taking place.

God wrapped Godself in flesh and became one with its Created Ones.

Most lowly of castes; the working poor – he took his place.

Settling into the bosom of the teen mother.

 

In a moment, which resounded throughout eternity, time stood still.

 

To those who were marginalized was given the privilege of this moment.

The poor, the weak, the discarded all touched the face of God.

They came out of curiosity and left knowing a Secret kept from the Powerful.

Revealed to the powerless.

 

Divine Love arrived. Available to all who will hold this child close to their heart.

 

We are not that different.

We too, long to be known. Loved. Heard.

In the cacophony of inner and outer noise we search for what might fulfill us

coming up empty-handed.

Placing ourselves behind walls of isolation, fear and anxiety.

Thinking we are protecting ourselves when we are keeping peace at a distance.

 

Child, Divine Love has arrived. Right on time. Waiting for your embrace.

 

Bring this child close to your heart. Smell the intoxicating scent of a newborn.

Feel the warmth radiate from his tiny body to yours.

Consider his gaze; seeing only pure acceptance and love.

 

Divine Love has arrived. Right on time.

 

Breathe it in deeply. Mark this moment in time and eternity.

For Peace has found its home within.

And all is well.

 

Jeanette B

An Introduction to the Journey Ahead.

I am no stranger to crazy ideas.

It isn’t that I necessarily go searching for them, but somehow crazy ideas and I always seem to find each other. These ideas have sent me to Germany, Haiti, and Nicaragua. I’ve lived a displaced life for 90 days, and I’ve bought a bus to turn into a home. Each crazy idea has brought me to a new place in my life, new experiences, new relationships. Each risk has had a reward, although not always the reward I expected.

Three years ago, I woke up on the morning of November 30th with a crazy idea.

I had just been through a difficult season of life, and I was still reeling from the events of the past year. By the end of that November, I was desperately seeking some peace.

The very next day I started writing the first of 25 posts about my search for peace, my search for understanding. Each day, I fought to write another post, I sought to capture with words a feeling, an idea that I couldn’t even be sure was real. Each post was a struggle, and in the moment, I felt anything but peace as I sought to write about it.

As I look back on that first year, I still see the changes it wrought in my life. I can still point to moments where I’m profoundly different than I was before.

The world needs crazy ideas about finding peace.

The world needs crazy ideas.