Usually when I’m sitting waiting for my bi-annual neurology check-up, nobody gives me a second glance. But today, I sat one seat away from a lady who clearly wanted to talk. After discussing the consultant, and the woman’s 20 year experience of MS, she was called in. As she passed me on her way out, she stopped, sat down, and said “There’s only one word that counts. It’s ‘peace’, peace, peace.” I nodded indulgently, and as I told her my own story I included the fact that I had two young children. At this information, she raised her eyebrows and made a negative face.
It got me thinking: does peace only occur when your life is isolated, and every possible disruptive thing removed from it? Is peace only won at the price of company, and children? I don’t think so. The lady who said ‘peace’ was clearly lonely. She spoke to anyone who sat near her, and had nobody with her.
If that is the way you get peace, I don’t want it. But I really don’t think it is. I think peace is a very deeply embedded state – that is not troubled by noise, pain or darkness. That is the peace I’m wanting. It might never happen in this life, but it is definitely not paired with solitude. My children could be shouting the house down, my vertigo could be making my head spin, my fear could be rumbling in the background, but peace is still there, I know it. It is offered by the one who knew he had to face intense suffering and terrifying death, isolation too. But He says ‘Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.’ What a hard-won, hammered out gift is that. But it’s mine for the asking.