Last week was the second week of advent: peace.
It seems almost laughable these days and unfathomable for myself personally last week (grumpy, unsettled, out-of-sorts.) Who do I know who would claim they are experiencing peace? Tis the season, if you are a parent of watching our kiddos do all the things. Piano recitals, Christmas concerts, season wrap ups. What a joy it is to watch these people we are blessed to parent growing into who they are. Yet also what an overfull season of everything merry happening, leaving little space for quiet and contemplation, whether you have kids or not. No room to find this thing called peace. No one I know free from personal hardship of one form or another.
Secondly, the world is currently a bit of a dumpster fire. We are becoming further polarized, finding it hard to agree on much of anything in real life. Injustice is everywhere. Humanity can seem a hard race to be a member of if one only pays attention to the headlines instead of the faces of those around us.
Online it is easy to find agreement with all the people we ‘like’ to surround ourselves with who think the same way we do. We forget we are all people. Mind, body, soul. More in common than we think when we take ourselves out of the excessive news cycle and into conversations with each other.
I sign off of most of it - not wanting to be ill informed, not wanting to fail to recognize my privilege, not wanting to turn a blind eye to injustice in the world but also finding myself useless when information is just overflowing. No more room. I find myself turning back to a smaller focus ~ connecting with the people God has called me to love and learn from; which certainly is not the whole internet, my whole acquaintance group or even everyone I am related to.
I am slowly learning to do the part I am called to do and trust it is enough to bring about this much longed after peace on earth. I am slowly learning to let go of things I’m not called to.
Letting go. There it is again. I’ve been hearing the words ‘let go’ whispered over and over for months now. I was puzzled, let go of what? I am tired of things being rooted out and let it slide by, too exhausted to get curious. Afraid of what getting curious might ask of me.
Because apparently I need to be hit over the head with something to pay attention (or possibly made mute like Zechariah) the words ‘let go’ were physically spoken to me, to my agitated spirit during this week of (non)peace just passed. I see this as either hilarious or as a deeply moving experience depending on my mood, but mostly both. I was getting a massage from a new therapist who I had only seen once before. I asked her a question about an especially tender spot and she replied with ‘You are holding on. What would it look like to let go?’
Let go of what? (She told me a few things). And why?
Strangely I am circled back to peace. I cry on the drive home. What does peace mean anyway? Inside contentment? Time to sit and be still? Having our needs met? Absence of violence? Who can define this promised peace?
I’m wondering if peace is possibly about listening. About obedience. About trust. Could peace be letting go of whatever needs to be let go of? Unreasonable expectations. Something that has overstayed it’s welcome. Control. A toxic person. Pretending to be okay. A season of life. A dream you had for someone other than yourself. Exhaustion. Responsibilities you don’t need to take on. What other people think about you. A substance. Fear.
How can there be room for peace if there is so much being hung onto ~ let go, let go.
Advent means peace has come despite my perceptions. Peace ~ the Prince of Peace has come despite my fear, despite my eyes that have trouble seeing, despite my limited imagination. I’m letting go - making room to receive this peace he left with us. I am making space in my soul to receive the good gifts advent promises us. Trying to be like Mary and saying yes to (only) what I am asked and becoming a place for peace to abide.