Advent day 10: Peace and Conflict

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” -ANONYMOUS

This is listed as one of Bruce Reyes-Chow’s favorite quotes so, you know. I shouldn’t have to say any more about its value. 

I’m having a difficult time living into this reality right now. My world has a lot of noise, trouble, and hard work in it right now and maintaining my internal cool has been problematic. I’m internalizing much of the chaos around me in ways that feel unsettling. 

To have peace in the midst of these circumstances seems to mean giving up a bit of control. To have peace right now might mean giving up on having solutions to all of the problems. It may mean that I can’t tie things up with a neat bow and that I may have to live with some messiness for awhile. I, of course, do not like this. I want to make peace. I want to fix things. I want to solve problems. 

The will to have power in times of crisis and conflict may, at times, create the right amount of tension to reach a solution, but may just as well be fuel added to the fire. My first responsibility in any crisis is my responsibility to tend to my own reactions. Do I operate out of my fears? Out of anxiety? Out of pride? Or do I listen? Do I seek understanding? Do I settle things within myself before I attempt to settle them in the world? 

Right now, I feel like I am failing pretty miserably at this, but there is something that rings true about the sentiment. Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes God calms those in the boat being tossed about by the storm. I’d rather the storm go away, but since that seems unlikely (and there’s always another storm) maybe I should work on calming myself. 

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