Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Road To Peace

There are many things that come our way as we go throught this journey called, life. There are things that make us happy, things that make us sad, and things that make us mad. We have things that encourage us, things that discourage us, things that give up hope, and things that cause deep despair, factoring into the equation, as well. But through it all, I have found that all things will pass and a new phase is always just over the horizon. And it's a relatively simple equation to solve, but only if we can believe it and implement it.

When things are going good and we are seemingly on a roll, there is that human tendency to get complacent. We can, and often do, get into a mindset that will push us to a point where we think that we are in a zone, and as a result, many can and do become arrogant.

(Let's be clear on something here, arrogance is not the same as confidence. Arrogance is a state of mind where thoughts can and often do turn into actions that are considered overbearing to those around. Confidence is a steady sureness that does not waver much in the face of adversity and though it does not back down from it, it does not lash out, either. Confidence is a defense, arrogance an offense.)

When I was growing up, my adoptive father used to say, "Just when you think you have it made, that's when you need to watch out.". He explained it something like this:

When things are going good, when things are just grand, people tend to let their guards down. If we are only receptive to the good things, we come to expect them. And if that's the case, we can and often do overlook early warning signs, of an impending catastrophe, disaster, or at very least a major inconvenience. He has been gone 9 years now. But I still hear his voice in my head, saying this very thing. Not only do I hear it, it echoes. Not only do I hear it, I listen. Because, I have found this to be an inherent truth, very worthy of constant consideration.

But, what if we are not on a roll? What if we are in a losing streak, a stroke of bad luck, or just overhwelmed with stressful life events that seemingly have no end in sight? Do we act happy as if nothing is wrong? Do we go into denial? Do we cave in and give up?

With the rough times, the principle is the same as the good times. Just as we want to guard against arrogance when the dice are rolling your way, we must keep ourselves from getting into a state of despair, depression, and hopelessness. This we must do, no matter what challenges we face, if we are to maintain a level head. Keeping our heads level will help us see our way through the difficult moments and help us develop a strategy to counter the adversity.

Just as my father's words resound in my head almost daily these days, so do the words of a late minister that I just loved dearly and knew me from my toddler years, up until his death. He said, "Peace is an understanding, not an emotion".

Let's think about that for a minute.

Peace is not a sense of well-being, in fact, it is not a feeling at all. It comes from knowledge, wisdom, and experience, which creates an understanding within us that better assists us in our problem-solving skills. That understanding we gain in turn, helps our confidence grow. And as our confidence grows, then our peace (true peace) can grow and steady us, in the midst of the storms; and can temper us, when we become too proud, haughty, and highminded.

In closing I say, I hope this finds someone that can use the encouragement. I cannot pay these men back for the wise words they gave me, but I can pay it forward.

And as for me today, I have been in a tough spot for the last few weeks, due to the fact that my mother-in-law's health is deteriorating more rapidly than before, and some decisions will probably need to be made soon about where she will need to be living. Add to that the usual things that we deal with day-to-day anyway and it can/does get a little overwhelming at times.. But, it is that peace that passes all understanding that has sustained me throughout my life, and will continue to sustain my wife and I through this.

So, if you got an extra prayer, we'll take it and we will thank you for it. Oh yes, and one more thing:

Peace be with you.

Cross posted at The Wide Awakes


All_I_Can_Stands said...

LA, my prayers will be with you, your wife and mother-in-law.

superfrenchie said...

I don't pray, but I'll have a thought for you and your mother-in-law.

Always On Watch said...

This is beautiful--and profound.

I have found that all things will pass and a new phase is always just over the horizon.

As my mother was fond of saying, "This too shall pass. We'll get through it."

I'll offer a prayer for your mother-in-law, and for you and your wife.

You might also find helpful Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. I wrote a review of the book last night and will probably post it sometime this week.

God bless!

A.C. said...

Prayer said for your mom-in-law. BTW,
I hope my step children one day feel about me the way you do about your adopted dad.

It's also amazing, scary, and humbling what kids remember most about their parents..

LASunsett said...

AICS, SF, AOW, and AC,

Thank you all very much for your kind words, your prayers, and/or your thoughts. Thanks for being being my blog friends and reading PYY. You guys are top-notch and I am proud to be associated with you in any way, shape, or form.


I have seen that you plug that book a lot, I will have to be on lookout for it, the next time I am browsing for books at Borders or Barnes and Noble, two of my favorite stores in the world.


If you teach them the right way and treat them like your own, I guarantee they will appreciate you every bit as much as I learned to appreciate mine. As one who has a stepson, I can say it won't always be easy, but then again, raising your own is no picnic in a peaceful and serene forest, either.

Always On Watch said...

The book is in hardback edition at the moment. And still on the bestseller list.

A friend of mine who is widowed read the book, bought multiple copies, and donated those copies to her local public library. The book is that important--in her opinion and in mine.