The antonym for “peaceful” is “unpeaceful.” Okay, that’s fair, but I was thinking of something a little more descriptive like: “chaotic,” “tense,” exhausting,” or “stressful.” What emotions do you experience when you don’t feel at peace?
Countless situations can be responsible for creating the opposite of a calm and tranquil home:
• full-time caregiving for someone with a debilitating physical or emotional illness • a toxic relationship, making home the last place you want to be
• living alone and experiencing loneliness
• juggling a career, house, children, and an aging parent
• so many physical possessions that you don’t have room to breathe
• being over your head in debt, unable to pay the bills or put food on the table, let alone buy gifts
If your reality includes any of those challenges, and you then add the profound impact of COVID-19 and a divisive election climate, it’s understandable that your joy may be depleted.
Sometimes, when we live with others in a space that isn’t peaceful, we decide that the other person should change. We think things like, “If only they could see themselves through my eyes or realize how much happier they’d be if they did things my way.” Then we sit back and wonder why we don’t feel peaceful. Chances are good that those very people are thinking about how much calmer life would be if we changed!
Sadly, during the holiday season, people often tend to experience even less peace in their homes. That irony of that shouldn’t be lost on us. We’ve traded the joy of the holiday for the “stuff” of it. We’re impatient with others. We become exhausted. We get caught up in the “wow, look at how wonderful everyone else’s life is” phenomena, and that robs us of even more peace.
When we look back and review our lives, our financial wealth, success, or acquisitions aren’t going to be what matters the most. It will be the memories and laughter shared, the moments of peace, and blessed joy that will fill our hearts.
Teresa of Ávila wrote this prayer in the 1500s. Its timelessness always inspires me:
“May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities born of faith. May you use those gifts you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
In this season of hope, I pray that you listen to the voice inside you that’s whispering, “You are important, You have value, You are loved.” And, I pray that you experience profound peace. ❤︎