Peace always seems to be a theme running throughout my life. Without it, things are not fun at the O'Brien household but with it, all is right with the world. That doesn't mean there aren't fights and that things don't go wrong but I am way more adaptable to these things when I'm peaceful. From the I Believe in Love book (my "playbook" for life along with the Bible);
"Another fruit of peace is equilibrium of soul. Peaceful souls are neither pessimists nor neurotics. They are not smug optimists, but have a wise and legitimate optimism, based on the Heart of Jesus, for they know that nothing happens but what God wills and that for man who lives in faith, everything is grace, everything is love. Mild temper, forbearance, goodness, and serenity grow only in peace." Further in this same chapter is this; "Notice that it is not by keeping you away from temptations and struggles that our Lord will guard you...Remember that the grace of Jesus is sufficient for you, and that it will never be lacking. It is so important to find calmness right away again after each fall!"
So, I feel like I've been on this quest for peace forever! Well, I guess that we all are because that's just human nature. I know the tools to get there but the realization of the difficult work that it takes gets overwhelming at times. This is where the importance of calmness after each fall comes into play. I pray that my response time to the falls shrinks.
I know that I have struggled with feeling peaceful since before Bill died because I remember spending many hours before the Blessed Sacrament begging Jesus for peace. I then started researching the word peace. I found a lot about world peace, family peace, and group peace but not much on spiritual peace - other than some new age crap that involves centering and yoga and blah! It was during prayer that God revealed to me (when I say that He revealed something to me - I don't actually hear an audible voice, He's just found a way to communicate with me so that I know that it is Him) world peace, family peace, and all the other kinds of peace all have one thing in common: humility or the lack of it (pride)
I have had the audacity to tell myself while waiting in line for Confession that I really don't have any sins to confess! Can you believe it? How prideful! As though because I have encountered difficulties and hardships that I am immune, somehow, to the "sin standards" of others! I realized this the other day and have felt panic attacks as I await my next opportunity to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation!
I have tried to figure out why I would even begin to think that my sinful words, behaviors, and actions don't "count." It all boils down to pride and a true lack of humility! I really despise my sins but the problem lies in that I regret the sin more because of how it might affect my life than regretting the sin itself! This is called offended self-love. I want the grace and the love of God but mostly because it makes ME feel good! I want God to feel good and to be happy and proud of me but, ugh, I think I want His approval because it makes me feel good! How awful!!!!!!! I have known this for quite a long time but I have not been able to admit it to myself or to others! I desperately try to do service for others through meals, babysitting, cards, phone calls, volunteering, etc. and I know that's because it serves God. I have sincere intentions in what I do and I most definitely want to lead others to Christ by example! Having said that, I think that I need to do more with my personal relationship with God. I need to find the peace that God intends all of us to have through his grace (it is enough) This means exorcising these demons of mine. I need to just get down to the bare essentials and focus on Him and His Love instead of my picture of what love is.
That was painful to reveal in writing! I am hoping that through this pain that I will now feel the true meaning of peace. Not just for me but for my children as well.
ps. I wanted to acknowledge on my blog the generous gift that I received from a 3rd grade parent. I did indeed get Briege an American Girl doll and she was so surprised and happy. I explained to her how I was able to do this for her and she was very moved by the kindness of St. Anthony's school parents. I have no way of thanking this anonymous friend except through this blog. So, thank you and God bless you! My little Briege will remember this Christmas always and I will too :)