This has been
a very challenging week for me. My mother had to have some surgery
to correct a problem with a dental implant. It was not life-threatening
surgery, but it was surgery that involved a lot of pain. So I am
in Georgia to offer my support. At home in Pennsylvania, I am able
to keep my stress to a minimum, but the uncertainties of travel,
a new environment, and spending the day at the hospital yesterday,
has allowed feelings of grief and anxiety to surface. The blessing
has been that I have been able to practice the skills that I have
learned to help me stay close to God and in touch with the peace
that transcends understanding.
test came this morning when I drove down to Atlanta to pick my mother
up at the hospital. When I first found out that I would be driving
down to get her, I instantly felt some anxiety about driving in
all that traffic and attempting to find the hospital in the big
city by myself. In rural Pennsylvania where I live, there is rarely
traffic, and lately I have not had to drive very much; so driving
in Atlanta was definitely going to stretch my boundaries of comfort.
Even as I started out on the side roads to the interstate, I found
myself absolutely fearful. I was so tense. Then I realized I was
holding my breath!
I decided to
turn off the radio, and focus on breathing and maintaining a safe
distance from the surrounding vehicles. I stopped worrying about
my destination. When I found myself distracted by roadside billboards
or the moving billboards traveling next to me, I reminded myself
to focus on my breathing and the driving. When cars darted in front
of me, I took a deep breath instead of getting angry or afraid.
When I was doing really well, I even smiled. After an hour of bumper
to bumper traffic (not exaggerating), I arrived at the hospital
relaxed and peaceful! And the time flew by unnoticed.
God wants us
to have this type of peace all the time. It becomes difficult because
there are so many distractions in our lives and in our world. We,
literally, let those distractions get the best of us. Instead of
trying to fill our lives with peace, we fill them with many, many
other things. We all have to live in this world, and the distractions
will be there. But we can choose whether to allow those distractions
to take away our peace. We can find ways to keep our connection
to God even when the chaos of the world surrounds us. God is always
Last week, I
was driving along our winding road that follows the creek behind
our house. It was nighttime. I stopped the car in the middle of
the road, to watch the moon slip behind the clouds and reappear
on the other side. The silence and stillness gave me absolute peace.
Now I reflect that whether our surroundings are serene or chaotic,
the peace that God gives us is always there
like the moon.
We just have to practice stilling our minds long enough to notice.
and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a
bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and
be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you
peace. Numbers 6:24-25
peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
can practice even when distracted, you are well trained. Pema
God, I thank
you for the peace that you give me. Despite the distractions and
chaos in this world, I know that I can always find serenity in your
presence. When I practice stilling my mind, the peace that is beyond
understanding is always mine. Amen