“You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out - perhaps a little at a time."
"And how long is that going to take?"
"I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps."
"That could be a long time."
"I will tell you a further mystery," he said. "It may take longer.”
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow
I am beginning to realize that an eternal perspective is essential to peace. I am not the beginning and the end, the world is not revolving around me; the story is so much bigger than my immediate life, or even my entire life. That is a relief to me. It is funny how when I come to accept that fact it makes life more precious, each moment more available, and life itself more peace-filled.
Each week I look out at the world through Molly's photo prompt and I see this creative exercise weave its way into my contemplation and prayer. Not only has peace been a photo prompt, it has been part of the Lectionary at church and therefore the subject of a fabulous sermon. These familiar words were perfectly timed:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Not unlike joy (and if you missed the discussion on joy, you can find the post and the wise and encouraging comments here), peace is one of those things that can seem elusive, diminishing when life gets hard. But the peace we want is not based on ourselves, our circumstances, this moment in time. It is the peace that comes from putting worries into thankful prayers, and seeing God's peace guarding our hearts and our minds in Christ. Wow. That is the kind of peace I want to know.
There is something about the changing seasons that reinforces this eternal perspective and its peace. The darkness comes earlier, and we have time to light candles and enjoy the evening.
The acorns are falling, the leaves are changing colors, the time for planting bulbs and cutting back perennials is here. As a friend wrote to me this morning, "Life is precious...I keep thinking about how life changes so rapidly while pretending to stay the same, and telling myself to really be in each moment, appreciating, savoring. I think if we could really know what a fragile gift life is, we would be living more peaceful, kind, and loving lives." Some seasons do pretend to stay the same, to last forever, and yet it is in the changes of the natural world that we are reminded again and again that time is marching on.
We have been hit with two rain storms in the last week, and as I type this morning the rain drops are loudly landing on the roof. The ground is happily soaking up the water, and I can see bits of green overtaking the depressing brown of summer. Seasons change, time moves on, worries will come and go; the constant can be thankfulness in prayer, and finding true peace as my heart's guard.
The Way I See It is a weekly photo prompt from Molly at Close to Home. I have been so happy to see two friends joining in: Tolle Scribe and The Autumn Rain. Next week's prompt is growth...why don't you join in the fun, too!