What a year 2020 has been so far and we are only halfway through. Pandemics, protests, and politics. These things by themselves can be unsettling, but simultaneously they seem to have shaken the citizens of the U.S.A., and other regions of the world.
The result of these troubling times is often the absence of peace in the heart and lives of those affected. In this, my first blog post, I will endeavor to share my thoughts on peace. I will begin with a piece from my birth story.
My mother gave birth to me in Durban, South Africa in the early 60s. She tells the story of being in an unsettled state at the time. My parents were considering immigrating to Australia around the time of my birth. My two older siblings (3 and 6 years old at the time) were going to be a part of this family relocation. Then, I arrived on the scene and the plans changed. We remained in South Africa.
My mother tells the story of being reassured around the time of my birth with the passage of Scripture in Philippians 4:7, which speaks of the “peace of God.” She walked in peace knowing God had reassured her of His peace at a time when she felt so unsettled.
So, peace played a profound part around the time of my birth. But, what is peace? Betraying my age a bit, when it comes to “peace,” I think of the hippies in the 60s with their peace signs, make love not war slogans, drugs, and free love. But, is peace a sort of laid back, anything goes, approach to life? Do we achieve it by personal indifference to others and their own pursuit of peace?
Peace is characterized by harmony in relationships. The absence of confusion, hostility, or conflict. It seems apparent that personal peace is the foundation of relational peace. How can we hope to find peace in relation to others if we internally give harbor to hostilities toward ourselves?
How do we achieve personal peace? There are practices proven to calm one’s mind and relax the body, as well as substances, legal or illegal. However, we can all attest, by either experience or consideration, that when either the practice ends, or the prescription wears off, so too does the peaceful state. Is it possible to experience perpetual personal peace without being in a state of endless suspension from reality?