Friday, January 8, 2010

Having Peace

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner. The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace? A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46

I cannot remember where it was that I originally came across this little story, but it has hung with me all week, leading me to do some searches to find it again. As I have thought about finding stillness in my life, and how peace goes hand in hand with that, I have pictured that little bird. And I have realized that I am NOT that little bird, perfectly at peace while the laundry piles up and my house falls apart. I have found myself rather frustrated when I use my time and energy (which seems to be in short supply at the moment) to work on something and find it torn back to pieces by the next day. The kids' squabbles and bickering and general "cabin feverness"--ummm, again, NOT that little bird in my handlings. And I think that sometimes when we conjure up a mental picture of peace, we end up thinking of peaceful surroundings. Like right now I envision a QUIET place, maybe a bit of classical music in the background, ORDER and BEAUTY found in the surroundings, a SOOTHING cup of tea . . . How easy it would be to feel peaceful there. But TRUE PEACE is a state of the heart. I wish I had an actual picture of that little bird and her nest because I'd like to hang it in a prominent place in my home. Perhaps it would help me to remember to react a bit more peacefully when I find the new red marker stripe across the carpet, flour dumped on the kitchen floor, a bag of tortillas strewn about (with "ghost faces" bitten into them), an emptied-out closet, a sleeping baby awoken (again!) by vigorous kisses, a nap time accident ruining freshly laundered BUNK BED sheets . . . In the end, it's all about my reaction to these things. (And yes, all of those things have happened over the last few days--and so much more . . .) ;oP So, peace . . . a little bird nestled up amidst craziness . . . that's what I'm thinking about today. Be the bird. ;o)


Anna said...

LOVE what you said..true peace in midst of the storm. Lovely picture...and I'll be praying that your weekend goes smoother at home!

Tiff said...

You know, I think there is a deep desire of ALL mothers (and probably all people in general) to obtain peace. Think about it...peace is the root of all things. Without peace, is it truly possible to have joy? Contentment? Love? Any of the fruits of the spirit?
I loved your blog today because like you, I strive for more peace every day (as I am quite the worry wart. I think it's genetic).
I also have to remind myself that there is a time and season for everything...even peace!

Unknown said...

This is wonderful, Janna! You have such a way of sharing your heart and the Lord uses you time and again to bless and encourage me!! "Be the bird." Love that!