By Laura Heid
“If you only KNEW what I’M dealing with these days, you’d know why I don’t feel peace.”
That’s me. It’s not pretty. I don’t like it. But it’s my reality.
I find myself word vomiting on any kind ear who will take a moment to hear about my latest stressor.
How did I get to this place?
I used to be able to regulate my complaining a lot better. When I was caught up in a group grievance session and I was about to say my share, I once was able to swallow it and listen openly.
I didn’t want to feed that angry fire. I knew that any little spark I would add wouldn’t do it any good. So I would patiently wait until the conversation simmered, allow that post-complaint silence to welcome an opening for a different perspective. I would gently engage my friends in challenging and hopeful conversation about why things are the way they are and how we were fully equipped to deal with it.
But I find myself being the negative spark these days. Any bit of angst lights me up and gets me roaring about this ridiculous thing, or that inevitable defeat.
And then God speaks to me through today’s Gospel:
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.”
Reading that is like having a big, bucket of water splashed over my roaring flame, puting me out. It is so easy for me to feel sorry for myself, feel caught up in the endless list of to-dos that have overwhelmed me for several months. I have become obsessed with crossing things off my list, and then adding more things to it. I feel a despair that I can’t handle it all and that it won’t work out.
What’s the difference between that person I was - when I could choose to see the good in all things - from the person I have become - a person who forgets the good and despairs?
Right now, Peace is hidden behind my piles of never ending lists.
And one of the saddest and most telling parts about it is that God, prayer, and faith aren’t on a single one of them.
Before, God was my priority. I trusted God to guide me. I believed that stressing about tomorrow was a waste of time because God was in control. Everything would work out as it should.
Peace seems to be “hidden from my eyes” these days. But I know exactly where to find it.
I have always known.
But when my humanness, my stubbornness, and my need for control overtakes me, I lose sight of it. And because God is so good and loves me so much, it often takes a while for me to even realize it.
It is time for me to write God in ALL CAPS with stars and hearts and a big red underline at the top of every list. Will that fix everything? Of course not. I have to actually pay attention to it. Act on it. Include God in each of those tasks. Pray. It is so much easier for me to say than to do.
But living without God is too difficult for me.
I have never found peace in that. My faith has always made life more brilliant and lovely. So I have to start somewhere, and I choose to start with God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura is a graduate student at University of Maryland School of Social Work and works in foster care. She is obsessed with all things vegetable and hiking to pretty places. Laura loves supporting her wife, an active duty soldier, and traveling with their little pup.