Reflection: Peace Presence
By Jane Lee Wolfe
The other day I woke up depressed, fearful and indescribably tired.
“What’s it to be today?” I said to God.
“Be peace,” the voice said.
“Ugh,” I thought. It sounded hard when I had no energy. Then I stopped: “Wait!” I said to myself, “That’s exactly who I am, Peace! I don’t have to do anything!” I relaxed into the day.
Who on earth experiences more depression, fear and fatigue than Peace? Who has a more difficult time getting through any day, anywhere? Who get less attention, less help, less compassion, less tenderness than Peace? We can look at ourselves, at our communities and at the world and answer that: No one…Perhaps because we neglect to treat Peace—the Peace that Christ left with us (John 14:27)—as a real being among us.
We might do better, and understand more joyfully if we knew Peace as a presence that is with us always.
We might do so much better, and understand so much more joyfully if we knew Peace as a presence that is with us always. We rarely listen, hear, experience or understand that Peace is a living being that is present to each one of us all the days of our lives. Peace is not a “concept” though we treat it as a dispensable, flimsy, utopian fantasy “idea.”
And a badly abused one. Peace knows what it’s like to be considered less than rubbish. Peace knows what it’s like to be ignored, to have your pain overlooked, to be half-dead by the side of the road and have everyone walk by.
How are we taking care of Peace, the peace Christ left with us, gave to us, either within ourselves or outside of ourselves? Have we not learned how to take care of this incredible gift given by God to each of us; the gift of what we each exactly need in growing to wholeness individually and in community? In what ways are we choosing to remain ignorant, disrespecting the living, holy gift of Peace?
Peace runs free and joyful when we are free, compassionate and courageous. Peace runs free when we are free, courageous and just. Peace runs free when we are free: loving God, our neighbors and ourselves with equal abandon and joy.
It is hard to cheer Peace up, but maybe that’s just what we can agree to try to do in the days and months and years going forward. The Peace God leaves with us does not need to suffer anymore. We can be tender to the Peace within us, taking time to pay attention and to honor that presence and nurse it to health. We can give Peace in others a hand up and a safe place to rest and heal.
We can behave with dignity in the presence of this most wonderful gift from God. And you know what? I bet we can get Peace to smile!
Jane Lee Wolfe is a parishioner of St. James-Woodstock, Vt. and Director of Bog Chapel, Inc.