peace two candles

Many images come to mind when I think of the word peace. Quiet. Stillness. A snowfall. An empty beach. An early morning cup of tea. A winter night sky full of stars. But what happens when those things are not readily available, or least not available uninterrupted? What happens when life feels like it has been picked up and shaken around like a snowglobe in the hands of an overeager three year-old – what does peace look like then?

I wish I knew. The best I can come up with is that’s something to hang on to. It’s the wall I find to lean against during a panic attack. It’s the warmth of the sun on my fair or the wind in my hair or the voice of a friend that gives me something to hang on to until everything stops spinning or falling in on me or both.

But here’s the thing – all of those are outside of me. The good images that come to mind when I think of peace and the things I hang to when I’m falling apart – all those are outside.

Peace, true peace, is a gift that lies within. It means digging deeper than surface images and finding something – or rather Someone – greater to hang on to. Or perhaps it means allowing myself to be held. Perhaps the path to peace means letting go and allowing myself to be held by the same hands that hold the whole universe steady. Perhaps true peace can only be found through surrender and trust.

It seems like this Advent, if I’m to know peace, I’m going to have to surrender and trust. And I think I’ve been shaken around enough that surrender and trust are less terrifying now. Ask me again around Christmas.

No Buts About It

You’re a genius but a total ditz.

Yeah, I have a genius IQ. My mind seems to easily make connections other people don’t see but I need a shopping list to remember to buy two things at the store.

You’re the toughest chick I’ve ever met but you cry over the stupidest stuff.

I have a soft side. I wouldn’t see the beauty in the world if I didn’t. I cried over the bird who flew into the window and broke his neck. I stayed by him until he died so the neighbor’s cat didn’t get him. And then I buried him under his favorite tree in the backyard. I couldn’t just throw him in the garage like a used tissue.  I was heartbroken when I hit and killed a squirrel who darted in front of my car. But that soft side of mine can be a liability.  I’ve been mocked mercilessly for it.

You’re one of the strongest women I know but you don’t even know it.

I’ve handled everything life has thrown at me thus far but I have never, ever felt strong. Other people see it. They tell me they see it and so I’ve learned to accept that they can’t all be crazy even if I can’t feel it. But they don’t see the panic attacks. They don’t see the nightmares that are so vivid I wake up disoriented and stay awake the rest of the night. What they see on the outside is so different from how it feels on the inside.


There always a but.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to prove the ‘good’ side of those descriptions and secretly – sometimes not-so-secretly – believing the ‘bad’ side them was a part of me that needed to be hidden or completely changed.

But what if I was wrong?  What if I didn’t have my ditzy tendencies? Or my mushy, teary marshmallow fluff core? Or my feelings of weakness?  What would I be then?

Too smart for my own good. Hard. Overconfident.

I love you Honey, but…

There have been a lot of things that followed that one: Stubborn. Mouthy. Bitchy. Sarcastic. Defensive. Reactionary.

And yeah, those are me too.

What if I wasn’t stubborn, mouthy, bitchy, sarcastic, defensive and reactionary? Because just once I wanted to hear I love Honey without the but. What would I be then?

A doormat. I’d be a doormat.

I tried it. I’ve been the too-smart, hard, overconfident woman. I’ve been the desperate doormat. I don’t recommend either one. I tried to find a middle ground between the two extremes. Turns out, I’m not so good at finding the middle ground.

truffleIt finally, finally sunk in that I’m not supposed to be. Instead of trying to be one extreme or the other or some kind of homogenous blend of everything, maybe I’m meant to be all those of those distinctive things.  I’m not some multifaceted but single-colored jewel.  Not this girl.  I’m an incredible, expensive chocolatier truffle creation. Something harder on the outside, darker and a bit bitter. Softer of the inside, sweeter yet with a touch of sea salt for balance and perhaps a bit of something stronger – bourbon perhaps.  Without any one of those flavors, I wouldn’t be me.

God didn’t make me to be like you.  Or like any other person in the history of … well… ever. Those parts of me that make me a little prickly at times are there for a good reason. When I stop fighting to change or hide them, I can focus on being all of who I was created to be.  I can admit that God actually knew what He was doing when He threw this combination together. And I can accept that He’s the only one I can always count on for I love you Honey.  No buts about it.