In the past week my heart and my prayers have been all over the map. I’ve experienced gratitude and wonder, fear and anxiety, relief. But never true peace. Peace eludes me.
I have spoken to friends and acquaintances who tell me the same thing. That peace feels out of reach. Our contentious election is over, but in its wake comes the unspoken question, “Now what?” How do we begin to come together as a nation? How do we work together to stop the spread of a virus that is growing steadily? How do we as people of God live into our faith in the midst of so much uncertainty? How do we trust that God works for good in all things?
Winter descended on us this week in the Treasure Valley. Just days before, for the entire first week of November, I gave thanks for the glorious sunshine we had every day. I happened to be staying in a place close to the Boise River for a writing residency, and each morning I felt the warmth of the sun pouring through floor-to-ceiling windows as I sat at my desk. I went for walks on the Greenbelt and smiled as bikers, boarders, walkers, and runners passed by, all clearly delighted to be outside in such a beautiful setting as the sun sparkled on the Boise River, dappled light through the trees, warmed our bodies, and lifted our spirits.
On Saturday I raked the crimson leaves from the maple tree in our backyard into big piles and scooped them into the compost bin. I enjoyed myself. My husband and I had plans the next day to mow one last time and to spread fall fertilizer and work in the yard together. We hadn’t even considered putting the patio furniture away for the year or cutting back the ornamental grasses. There would be time for that later.
Then we woke to a white world. The snow, perhaps especially because we didn’t expect it, gave the yard and our home a hush and stillness. We moved slowly that whole day and postponed all those well-planned activities—indefinitely. I spoke to a friend who said she watched the snow fall all day long while she enjoyed sitting by the fireplace in the home where she and her husband just moved. She allowed herself to stop everything and be filled with gratitude for the quiet and the fireplace she’d always dreamed of having.
Maybe this is God’s answer to the question “Now what?” Maybe God’s answer, in the words of the psalmist, is “Be still.”
- Be still, and marvel at our Creator God who gives us glorious sunshine one day and a blanketing, nourishing snow the next. Marvel at how God transforms creation in unexpected ways.
- Be still, and consider whose we are, that we are part of the beloved family of God, the Body of Christ, which transcends all political affiliation, geography, and earthly relations. This is what connects and unites all of us. This is what the world can never undo—our beloved status in the eyes of God.
- Be still, and contemplate the people who come to mind in quiet moments, people in need of our friendship, some small kindness, a reminder they, too, are part of God’s beloved family.
- Be still, and discern where God is calling us now. How is God inviting us to live out God’s infinite compassion for all people and all creation.
Then let us pray that we listen for God’s response—where true peace is found.