Where do you find peace?
Is it in the quiet moments of the early morning when the house is silent and the world is only beginning to wake up?
Is it in the comforting presence of a quiet talk with a good friend?
Is it in the moment that you look out the window and see the pure and simple beauty of the earth and realize that the clouds, trees, and mountains have no stress and for a moment you feel like you are one of them?
Is it in the serene moments of prayer, faith, and personal belief?
In all the turmoil and ups and downs of the last few months there have been many days when I have felt anything but peace. I have let my own thoughts and doubts become my worst enemy and I have let the opinions, words, and actions of others attempt to eat away at my self-confidence. There have been moments when I have doubted my self-worth, my own abilities, and even my sanity. I have self-diagnosed myself in so many ways, probably none of which are true… probably.
I have struggled. Yes, I’ve had it pointed it out that I have and am struggling still. I’ve struggled with forgiveness, with understanding, and even with being able to move forward. I have struggled in allowing all of those things to happen, for various reasons, but in all of these ‘struggles’ perhaps I am finding peace.
You see, I don’t need my struggles pointed out to me. I don’t need to be sung the same song over and over again. I don’t need any advice in how to quit practicing my pain. What I need is to allow myself to find peace to move past, not even forward or upward, but just past. And sometimes that moving past is still done in darkness. Sometimes it means that walking beside someone in their darkness is more important than offering them your light on the other side.
There comes a time in our lives where we begin to see people and things for how they really are. We begin to truly see who we can rely on, and even though they may be as flawed as we are, we know we can depend on them. There comes a time when we realize that opening up to some people is only going to cause us disappointment and pain and so we keep to ourselves for a bit. There comes a time, maybe we call it growing old, when we start to realize that trusting ourselves and our own instincts is what is going to be the best for us and our loved ones, because perhaps we are the only ones with our best interests at heart.
Maybe finding peace isn’t about an intentional quest or journey we must embark on. Maybe there aren’t 10 or 15 steps to moving forward, past, or wherever we’re headed. Maybe peace is just about accepting a struggle for what it is: a struggle. Maybe peace isn’t about having someone offer you light on the other side. Perhaps peace is about forging your own way through the darkness and realizing the light isn’t where you need to be right away anyway.
Peace can mean something different to all of us, but maybe peace is accepting, acknowledging, and embracing our struggles. When we acknowledge a problem, that’s half the battle, right? So perhaps peace begins with the acknowledgment that things are not ok. Perhaps we may need to embrace the fact that our struggle does mean something; that it’s not meant to be brushed off with simple words or phrases that seem to say a lot but mean nothing. Perhaps peace is accepting that things are not ever going to be the same because they’ve changed. Maybe the peace is in realizing that things MUST change.
One thing I do know is that writing is often therapeutic. Sharing and talking to kindred spirits has made me realize that there are many of us who ‘struggle’. Part of my path to peace has been realizing that I do not need to feel that I struggle alone. There are others who are willing to open themselves up and share their feelings, to join someone in their struggle in darkness, and to walk with them to wherever the path may take them.
That path to peace, even through the dark, will evermore be more important than the promise of a light waiting on another side because it is the journey there which will make all the difference.
Perhaps the most important thing about finding peace is the path we take in finding it.