Peace of mind—even in chaotic times

When I was a child, we lived in northern Michigan. Sometimes I would spend hours playing in the woods by myself. One day I lay down on a bed of pine needles and looked up through the tall birch and pine trees. The sunlight was filtering down. Young ferns were growing all around me. In that moment time dropped away, and I had a very powerful sense that I was part of something so much greater — that I belonged —that I was loved. And in that moment I felt complete peace.

I've never forgotten that experience. In many ways I know it has shaped my ongoing quest for peace of mind. It reminds me that what I'm seeking is not out there —that peace is something that I am a part of and that I need to draw on.

Today I'm struck by the frenetic pace of the world we live in. We're rushing here and there — as if what we're about and what we're looking for is always just beyond our grasp. we get so many subtle and completely unsubtle messages that tell us where we'll find happiness, that relief — and it's usually through some product or vacation package. I'm reminded of a Bible verse from Jeremiah that observes how the troubles of society are healed only "slightly," as if someone is saying, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14). It seems that so many of us are on the quest for inner tranquillity in the midst of a world spinning with noise and tumult. This quest comes from the desire to find some stillness, something to fill the gap within.

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November 3, 2003

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