Monday, January 16, 2006

The gift of peace

I love a weekend that doesn’t go as planned.

I had an excellent plan for this last weekend. Drive daughter to school by way of my brother’s house in Connecticut. Have some cousin face time between his kids and mine. Have leisurely long talks with him and his wife. Enjoy a relaxing weekend away from home. Come back up this morning bright and early.

Things went according to plan until Saturday night, 9:30pm. Drove back to his place from a scrumptious meal at a tapas restaurant in Darien, only to find that the power was out. Very windy night, we had seen large branches on the streets all the way home. My brother has a beautiful home, but everything relies on electricity, even water.

Walking around his darkened house, lit only occasionally by roving flashlights and tea candles, I experienced the unplanned. The velvet darkness in the still warm house brought a settled silence and calm. I cloistered myself in a cuddly couch and watched the wind stir the trees outside. And I thought about peace.

Peace to me is substantial, something you can breathe in and embrace. Your life can be filled with tumult yet you can still have the peace that comes from doing good for another, from a job well done, from righteousness. There’s a psalm that says, “…righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” I love that. They go together. And this weekend is the first time I’ve really thought about how peace can be gained through living goodness.

“There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience” (a proverb I just found online). This makes me wonder if the peace we find within ourselves could do more than just help us. Do you think that gaining personal peace could contribute to world peace? Do you think that if each one of us tries to experience peace within ourselves, we would each be making the world a better place? Do we owe it to the world to try it?

I think that there's a virtue in being stress-free, having equanimity, being even-keel, acting on good impulses, challenging ourselves to finding peace—it would bless more than ourselves. It’s not a selfish pursuit, but a world-blessing one.

Interesting where a power-outage can take you. After a night of hunkering down in layers and blankets, we left earlier than expected, my brother and his family securely ensconced in a local Doubletree. It wasn’t my plan, but maybe it was part of “the” plan. And I’m left with the gift of peace that I just want to share.


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