Sunday, August 14, 2011

Understanding Peace


It has been on my mind this morning. No matter what I find myself doing, I seem to keep coming back to it.

I’m not talking about peace, love, & caddyshack. *grins*  I’m talking the peace that passes understanding. It’s not really describable and yet, here I am making the attempt as it appears to have taken root and is willing me to do something I haven’t done in quite awhile … write … and something I haven’t done in an even longer while … post.

This morning I was not just awake, but also up (as in the "out of bed and dressed" kind) before I wanted to be through no one’s fault, not even the small, white ball of fluff that seems to rule my house and my schedule. As a matter of fact, the small one was still nestled on the bed, sleeping quite peacefully when I decided that we would go outside and check the early morning. It was a bit before 7am and the sun had just crested its way into the sky. I stopped to brew a mug of tea from a blend gifted me by the eldest girlie Friday night before grabbing leash and pupper and making my way out of doors.

According to the weather I checked before leaving my phone inside, the temperature was a light 69 degrees. After weeks of 110 plus – either from heat index or, worse, actual temperature – the morning seemed almost chilly. Almost. Yet while the breeze was cool, the rising sun was bright in the clear blue palette of sky and was warming. Not hot. Just warm. The morning was perfect.

We walked for a few minutes, my pupper and I. Not far. Not to the field. Just down the sidewalk enough to give him some places to sniff and me a feeling that I’d stretched, however little. Then we went back and I relaxed, in my chair, sipping my tea, while he searched for something elusively scented under his bushes.

It was quiet. Not silent, just ... quiet.

Our morning's musical underscore was a combination of the birds, busy with beginning their day, and the gentle breeze, which was enough to give a rustle to Fluff’s bushes and toss a couple of dried leaves across the driveway for him to give chase before another scent caught his twitching little nose and he began exploring again. The birds made me think of Harold and Francine, my cardinals. I wondered where they were and if they had already begun another nest, hopefully in a safer location than my tree and window could evidently provide, but they are nature’s creatures and I just gave another quick thanks to their Creator for allowing me the chance to view their life for a short time.

I lay my head back, closed my eyes and felt, simply put, the perfectly peaceful morning flow around me, welcoming and embracing.

There was nothing to understand, nothing to sort out. There was just peace - of mind, of body, of soul.

Yesterday afternoon, after an early morning trip to the Farmer’s Market, combined with real estate wandering (aka. driving around looking at houses for rent & for sale and checking out garage sales), not to mention a brief errand, my youngest girlie settled herself curled in my big chair whilst I worked in the kitchen for a bit. It didn’t take long for the quiet and lull in activity to settle her into a soft sleep. While I worked, I found my eyes drawn to her slumber, my hands gentling the sounds so I didn’t disturb, and my mind casting back in memories so thick and rich, they seemed to wrap themselves around me like a warm cloak or a soft comforter.

Memories of girlies of varying ages and sizes … curled separately or together … on the couch, in the chair, on my shoulder, in my lap, on the floor, in the car … sleeping the quiet, yet not so quiet, sleep of innocence … of childhood. Tucked up on pillows or hands, nestled in blankets or not, they dreamed the dreams cast by their hearts, minds, and imaginations. Sometimes they might wake startled by nightmare or illness, but the moments passed quickly and sleep would always return to give them peace.

Ask me of one of my fondest memories and would reply something like this:

Take any weekend filled with laughter and playtime, movies and books and end it with girlies asleep in their beds as I finish out my day. Then, after closing down the house and securing our safety, I would turn out the lights and make my way down the hall. Aided by small nightlights, I would stand in the juncture of the hall, looking into both rooms, reveling in the gift of time spent before tucking each one with a small kiss and phrase, then gratefully giving thanks to the Creator who made them and the parents that shared them.

That moment. That memory. That was my feeling of peace.

According to the dictionary, peace can be defined in multiple ways. There is the one of the “normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world” which is in parallel to the one about “an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism” to be followed in the same genre as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations”. There are also the definitions of “being deceased”, of “maintaining order”, of “refraining from speaking”. One definition that kinda made me giggle, but that could be because of the way it is phrased, is the one where peace is definined as “a state or relationship of non-belligerence”. Not sure why it made me giggle, except perhaps because I hear this English voice in my head from a movie I know I’ve seen and yet cannot place at the moment (when it comes to me at 3am, I’ll be sure to post it for you) of the good guy fighting the bad guy and calling him a “belligerent bugger”. But that’s a side trip in the realm of definitions and not where I was heading.

Where I am heading is the simple and concise definition of peace as “untroubled, tranquil, content … a state of stillness, silence, or serenity.”

These are the words that define my memory of those quiet moments. This is the feeling ... is the peace ... I had this morning as I relaxed with my tea outside while my pupper explored before starting my day. This is the sense of self that is welcomed each weekend to rejuvenate my mind and, more specifically, my soul in order to approach the coming week.

That is my description of peace.

It is the gift that surpasses all understanding, flows like a river and is only truly received when heart and mind are surrendered to the One from who it is given.

My prayer this Sunday morning, before my pupper and I came inside and truly began our day, was … is … for each member of my family, each of my friends to be blessed with their own moment of peace. And ... when you find yourself in that moment, do two things.  First … give thanks to Him who has bestowed it, and then, secondly, pass it on. You know the adage … if you tell two people, then they tell two people, then they tell two people, and so on, and so forth?

Is your imagination good enough to imagine what would happen?


Whims said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful sentiment!

Kara said...

Ah, Cindy, you have phrased this beautifully. I am just now coming to the understanding of the relationship that you have with each of your girlies. It is so precious!

But more than that, I marvel at the way you view life. Just from the small bits of you I know, I can SEE that peace in your life like you write about. I don't know what you struggled through up until this point in your life. You seem so content, and i admire that so much.

You are a beautiful woman, Cindy. Your smile radiates!! I'm so thankful I met you through Brittany! I hope I can continue to get to know you more.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!