Getting Away From It All

by | Apr 30, 2015 | 7 Peacemakers

kermit-510053_640Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).
In the hectic spring, we look forward to summer days of getting away from it all.  Students look forward to travel, sleeping in at home, or a temporary job that at least changes the pace and focus.  Busy professionals plan resort vacations, cruises, or family visits.
Whether these plans really get us away from it all depends on whether we accurately identify what “it all” is from which we need a breather.  A new setting gives needed time out from habitual triggers of worry and strain in our daily round.  But more often than not, that from which we need to get away resides within.
On vacations, we often carry the hectic pace with us right along with our luggage, planning a full itinerary of must-see places and faces, filling our days with activities, competing with each other for the best beach body or purchases.  This is not getting away from it all.  We brought it all with us.
In our stress addiction, we don’t know what to do with ourselves in slow time and silence.  We go into withdrawal.  We must face our own conflicted thoughts and feelings there.
Behind the masks we wear to hide our suffering from co-workers, children, and just about everyone else, stress and distress lurks, threatening to blow our cover.  We don’t have time for those feelings, we think, so we expend a great deal of energy avoiding them or stuffing them into an inner closet.  It’s that hard work from which we need to get away.
I gave up getting away from it all a long time ago because, as Kermit the Frog said, “Wherever you go, there you are.”  Separation and divorce gave me ample quiet, but a clamor rose from painful memories, worries, and restless desire for God-knows-what.
Ill-prepared to make peace with myself, I used time alone to make peace with God instead, and serenity slowly followed.  I read spiritual books, developed more intentional prayer practices, meditated, did yoga, and journaled, all while maintaining my job and what relationship I could with my son.  Solitude became time with God who slowly introduced me to myself, not my version but God’s.
Then God led me to reach out as I got involved in spiritual formation classes and retreats and making more friends who shared the spiritual quest.  In time, I came to shalom, the peace of connection and wholeness that comes with facing inner feelings, coming before God in silence, and reaching out.
I really look forward to having a blast this summer at the Wild Goose Festival (see sidebar), and I can’t wait to honeymoon with Wanda.  But if wherever I go, there I am, I want to bring a self already connected to God, myself, and others.  That takes a lifetime, but I’m getting to know myself better every day.
 

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