“Make peace with the peace.” ~Susan Elliott

Julie_PeacePhoto: September, 2009

I remember when I first read those words: “Make peace with the peace.”

I paused. I took stock of my life. I felt something new: an unfamiliar quietness. I didn’t know if I liked it.

I wondered: “Am I used to swirling chaos and striving? Do I depend on swooping emotions to feel alive? When things go well, do I throw a wrench into the system so I have something new to work on?”

After a particularly productive, and yet conversely, challenging period in my life, I entered a state of calm (it felt like the first sustained calm in years). Time moved molasses-slow, the days stretched taffy-long in front of me.

I felt (dare I admit it?) a little bored, even.

“Make peace with the peace.” Susan went on: “This is the sound of your life working.”


That’s what that was.

I had grown accustomed to “surprise attack” living—Wham! worry to worry, need to need, conflict to conflict.

“Make peace with the peace.”

It’s been four years since I read those words. I nearly tattooed them on my wrist at the time. I wanted that problem—that being okay with a peaceful life was the biggest hurdle of the day.

I had spent so many of my adult years working hard to “get it right.” Even when things were “right,” I sometimes fell prey to the feeling, “If this is good, more or different will be better.”

Homeschool curriculum discussion is exactly like that. You might be swimming along, peacefully, calmly, free of chaos and drama, watching your children execute their lessons, only to read one online discussion about a brand new program with a much better philosophy, and bam! You’re plunged into anxiety about whether or not what you are using is “working” after all!

“Make peace with the peace.”

When you aren’t worked up and worried, that’s the sound of your life working.

When you aren’t lying awake in bed wondering if you can squeeze nickels from the grocery budget for the brand new math app for the iPad, that’s the sound of your life working.

When you look forward to your spouse coming home (rather than dreading it), that’s the sound of your life working.

When you notice your children doing what they should, when they should, without ire—that’s the sound of your life working.

If you’re mildly bored (have time to stare out a window while rinsing dishes or fantasize about a new master bath while reading aloud to the kids), that’s evidence that there is margin—space—in your world. You are free of the pressure to perform, you are free to live the life you’ve created without obsessing about it or analyzing it or exerting yourself to “make it better.”

We all say we want peace: peaceful homes, marriages, relationships with our children.

When our wish is granted, do we welcome it? Or do we look under the cushions for worries to keep us company? Do we rescue a fear from drowning by reviving it, and keeping it alive?

Anxiety, control, fear of the unknown, anger, upping the ante, micromanaging the space, shouting, pressure, pretending, and relational strife—it’s hard to let go of these long-standing habits. The powerful emotions evoked told you that you were vitally alive, even if you also felt depressed, sick to your stomach, and angry.

The good life is one with deep emotions, too—but peace calls forth appreciation, patience, gratitude, awareness of the passing moment, calm, trust, intuition, gentleness, and bonding (love)…and little to no drama.

“Make peace with the peace. This is the sound of your life working.”

Cross-posted on facebook.

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