I nearly choked to death trying to hold back what I knew was getting ready to be the deepest, ugliest sob of my life!! How did I know it? Because what started as a look back over the summer that we’d just had, turned into the last year…that turned into the last 3 and those 3 became one of those old-school red contraptions that you put the little disc in and click down on the lever to go to the next slide – Y’all know what I’m talking about??? YEAH, the VIEW MASTER! My whole life had somehow been squeezed onto the little black boxes of a view master diskette and SOMEBODY was clicking that thing fast enough to make it look like a motion picture. I wanted it to stop because I was losing the battle with my tear ducts and throat, but before I knew it that ugly cry came tearing its way up from the pit of my stomach, spilling out of my mouth eyes AND nose (Viola Davis style, you hear me?!). I had been bracing myself, back up against the kitchen sink, but when all of that came out, it seemed to have taken my strength with it. I slid down the counter and cabinets, mouth wide open in silence until I hit the floor, awkward and limp. Then it happened…that sob came roaring like I was dressed in black at the cemetery watching a casket being lowered into the ground. I mean it was a deep, guttural, almost animal-like sound. It was unmistakably the sound of pain. The kind of pain that only comes from great loss – excruciating pain.
Guess what…that’s EXACTLY what was happening! At that moment I realized that I was in the middle of grieving the death of some beautiful dreams, hopes, and promises…my marriage was over and it was REAL! So much beauty came from what we had, so much LIFE, but none of it had been enough. I couldn’t figure out how or why. “How did THIS happen?” and “Lord, WHY would you allow THIS?” were on repeat in my heart, my mind, my prayers, and my journal. I still don’t have the answers, but I have something that I haven’t had in years…PEACE.
So let’s go ahead and wrap up this series, “Cultivating a Life of Peace”.
I FULLY intended for this to be a vlog. Since I’d done the last two as video, I wanted to end on the same note. The more I tried to prep myself to sit down in front of a camera and convey these things, the more I could feel my bottom lip quiver, so I QUICKLY decided to “get to typin’!” LOL. I decided to end this series, by taking a look at the beginning. Not the beginning of the series, but the beginning of my life. In order to get to the bottom of something, you kind of have to get down to the bottom of something! That’s understood, however, what we see on the surface is generally indicative of what’s going on at the bottom! My beautiful Peace Lilly and Parlor Palm started browning out really badly. They were receiving the same light as usual, I wasn’t missing my scheduled waterings and there had been no other environmental changes – at least not any that I could see. As I began feeling under attack by the invasion of gnats, I realized that my heightened awareness of their presence was coinciding with the browning out of my plants. I Googled it and found out that if your houseplants had ever been outside, and you began noticing the changes that I’d been seeing in mine, it could be a result of gnats down in the soil. Not only are they down in there, but down there LAYIN’ EGGS CHILD!!! I was livid! I had a decision to make – get rid of the plants or get rid of the gnats. Now, were there other options? Yes…but by this time I had neither the time nor the desire to troubleshoot because these rascals were getting bold! Flying all up close to my eyes and nostrils (those of you that saw my video post about them know EXACTLY how angry I was about this disrespect!). So, turns out I could’ve treated the soil, but the likelihood of the treatment negatively affecting my plants was incredibly high. Even if it didn’t kill them in the process of trying to heal them, it would have certainly devastated the root system. So, in my frustration and distress, I decided that maybe they could survive out in a more natural environment…and I could be free of the pests they’d invited. I threw them outside in the wooded lot behind my home. How true to human life is this story? We watch as we and/or our loved ones begin to “brown out” and we start trying to figure out how to fix it extrinsically. Adding more water, more sunlight, more Miracle-Gro. Frustration comes when none of that works; frustration takes Peace by the elbows, and ushers him right out the door! At that point, we make a decision – Either we continue to pour into what may seem (or even BE) a dying situation or we part ways.
Over the course of my life, I’ve tried to find healing in many different ways. Most of these ways dealt on the surface only, because going deep, meant pain. Digging and probing around down in the soil of my heart has taken MAJOR courage (not to mention professional help…YES, I’m talking about a therapist! Don’t look too shocked, it might do YOU some good to get one too, I’m just sayin’) but the benefits that I’m reaping are worth every tear. Why had my life been without peace for so long? Because I’d neglected to properly cultivate the soil of my heart, to allow the growth of this “Spirit Fruit”. Allowing God’s word to pierce through the hard and rocky places, like a farmer’s pick, has broken up some of those hard places that bitterness made almost impenetrable. By inviting me into personal and intimate worship moments, God has allowed me to drink from the well that never runs dry and receive the life that could only come from it! In prayer and meditation, the Holy Spirit stirs in me and shines his light so brightly that others get to experience and appreciate it too! At the end of each day, I get to lay down having had these experiences with Him, and know that the Peace of God is keeping my heart and my mind…because I’ve asked Him to cultivate that thing in me!
So, it may not be as deep as you wanted, but it’s still true. In order for real peace to be cultivated in your life, you must seek it out from the prince of Peace. What better gift to give to Him as we celebrate His birth than to ask him to be your Lord – and to be your peace today!