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.

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