A couple weeks ago when I taught Sunday School, Miss Ruth was there. She looked good and I told her so. She reached out and grasped my hand and smiled. She went home, lay down, and passed away a few hours later. She was 93.
I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that she wasn’t going to be in Sunday School next week.
I dressed up in my long, black wool skirt and sat next to my friend Dea at the funeral and listened. I listened to Miss Ruth’s son thank his sister for all the care she had given their mom. I listened as Miss Ruth’s son-in-law talked about the godly character of this woman. I watched as they closed the casket and I saw Miss Ruth’s daughter set her face to do the hard thing of burying her mom.
There were no regrets for Miss Ruth or her family. The peace that came from a lifetime of doing right inspired me.
Last Christmas we packed the Eurovan full of children and presents and drove to NY. While we were there, I took a deep breath and drove into Brooklyn, having nothing but an antique Galaxy Tab for directions. I found the hospital room where a girl I love was dealing with her own stress. We hugged and drank cranberry juice from those little plastic containers where you peel off the foil lid. There were tears and words like there haven’t been in years and the peace that comes from sharing the stress. When we finally arrived home, I hurt all over.
Thank you God for Naproxen. I swallowed it down and reminded myself this wasn’t an emergency while I managed chronic pain and waited for an appointment at the arthritis clinic. Sometimes I need peace for my spirit and sometimes I need peace for my body.
Yesterday I lay down for a nap and woke up at 5:30 pm when the two children with the task of organizing the recycling started throwing it down the stairs and squealing. I stood groggy in the kitchen longing for peace, supper not even started. I wanted to yell over the din at those two noisemakers. Instead, I calmly brought them to the top of the stairs and explained I was just waking up. I made my big, bad, scary face to show how I felt and they fell on the floor laughing. With a smile I told them they needed to do the job without the throwing and without the squealing. A few minutes later, the recycling was properly managed, there were two kids laying on the couch reading and supper was in the oven. Peace!
Interesting. I used to think peace came in quietness and in stillness. Sometimes it does, but recently, God has been showing me that peace comes also in doing. Peace comes in a Godly life, in taking medicine when I need it, in a timely visit and a worthy conversation, and in keeping calm when I want to scream. Peace is something we make.
Wresting for Rest, by Abby Kelly
Pursuing Excellence over Perfection, by Krissy Close
Impact of Anxiety on Disordered Eating, video resource