In January, the instructor challenged us to use our word to develop phrases, one for each month, setting up a year’s worth of intentions. I adopted a scriptural approach, gleaning a bunch of peace verses before narrowing the field. It was like taking a mini-course on peace. Those twelve that made the final cut were entered in my journal. (It didn’t take me long to bail on scrapbooking, eh?)
January’s phrase was “blessed peace” based on the Barocha, Numbers 6:24-26.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
I sang it often, waiting for our grandbabe to arrive. And then came Oliver! Now I sing the Barocha to him, holding his precious swaddled form snug against my heart. It is a privilege to be among the first to bless him, to pray for him, to love him. I can hardly believe our good fortune.
And to think we get to do this again in June with another baby boy! Awesomeness. My cup runneth over.
February’s phrase is “pathway of peace,” based on Proverbs 3. It reminds me that peace is experienced along the byways of a life well lived. This month, the instructor challenged us to make a vision board of images that resonate. I went no further than this photo of my favorite walking trail. In a literal sense, many times this pathway is the place I walk through to peace.
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
Those who gain understanding,
For she is more profitable than silver
And yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
Nothing you desire
can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.
My personal pathway of peace has had many twists and turns. Sometimes peace seems to vanish. Fortunately, I have learned to breathe peace.* If I awake in a sudden panic, or if a panicky thought hits mid-stride my day, I turn to breath prayers.
Most often my breath prayer is simple: Lord, Jesus (as I take a deep breath in), grant me peace (as I exhale). Sometimes they are more specific to the concern. Breath prayers are powerfully focused. God is palpably present in each inhale, each exhale. I rely on this discipline whenever worries disrupt me. And lately, I’ve been getting some practice.
The thing about One Little Word is that you select your word up front, not knowing for sure what it will mean to you over the course of the year. True enough. I was completely unprepared for a flood of irrational worries as our first grandbabe arrived! What is that about? I have no clue, except that he seems so fragile, almost translucent, and this ol’ world seems so cold and harsh.
It has been many years since I experienced such concern for a wee one; it caught me completely off guard. My chids are not enthused about this worrisome development, I can assure you. And I can’t blame them! I am a new GiGi (I remind them), please be patient (as I remind myself to breathe to peace).
Sometimes peace is more elusive, but eventually there is peace. (Just one of God’s many promises.) Peace doesn’t mean that my life is perfect. Peace doesn’t mean everything is A-okay. Peace means that I am okay with everything all the same, as I continue on my journey.
Peace is the pathway wisdom walks.
Peace to you.
~ René Morley
*Breath prayers were introduced to me by a counselor and pastor’s wife in the Methodist tradition some years ago. I’ll always be grateful. There are lots and lots of resources to help develop the discipline.