Monday, August 19, 2013

Week of Peace: Day 1

In my mind, I had arbitrarily decided that tonight I would begin the Week of Peace. (This follows the Week of Hope and, God willing, will continue for six more days and later be followed by a week for each of the other holy pauses: grace, mercy, love, joy and light.)

When I made this plan, as usual, I had little idea what I would write about - in fact, I didn't even feel much like doing it. Not out of any dislike for the topic but just not feeling real drawn to it either. What could I write about peace for this one day, much less seven straight days?

As I was considering this, the phone rang. Half-expecting a robo-call about my gas bill, I was surprised to hear the voice of good friend who has stayed in touch with me since our college years (despite my rather poor track record in this regard). If ever I want to complain about my life, I need only remember what she has been through in recent years and I shut my mouth.

I sat down at my desk as she updated me and, simultaneously, I began dropping different colors of alcohol ink onto a nearby scrap of paper. I played with the ink while I listened.

As she related to me the many things that have been challenging her, she stated the simple truth: "Sometimes you just have to go with the flow."

One of the things that is fascinating about working with alcohol inks is just that - learning to go with the ink's flow and watch it blend into a painting in unexpected ways. I am a beginner and it is not unusual for me to ruin a promising painting, trying to "make" the ink do what I want it to do.

As my friend and I talked, I found myself feeling peaceful, without the inner tensions that often emerge if I perceive someone to have interrupted my "plans". (I use the term "plans" loosely because often they are arbitrary and unimportant thoughts of what I will do next, mapped out in such a way that I become attached to them for no good reason.)

How much more beautiful - and peaceful - life feels when I simple allow my life to flow...when I allow the unexpected to be experienced as a surprise - which then becomes an opportunity, blending into or around what had been anticipated. So much more peaceful is my existence when I allow myself to be open to whatever comes.

How hard this is for us to do. To be open to whatever comes. More often, we would rather try to control the flow of our lives, fighting or avoiding what we deem "bad" (experiences, emotions, memories). Ironically, often what we are fighting off is the loving hand of God trying to heal us - but, in our fear, we are unable see this.

More on this later...I have begun.

(Please join me in this Week of Peace. I welcome your comments and contributions - e-mail them to me at If you would like your words or images shared here, please let me know if you would like me to use your name or a pseudonym.)