“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Buddha
We are living in conflictual times. Health concerns, political and societal unrest, perhaps financial uncertainty all impact the conflict that so many of us are struggling with.
Last fall as I was standing in line to cast my absentee ballot, people around me began talking about the illusiveness of peace and how difficult the pandemic and election have been on them and their families. After a while, one woman responded, “Well, as hard as it is, this whole ordeal is bringing us closer together and closer to Allah. Spending time praying and being with Him is comforting. That has really helped me.”
Another man said, “I feel the same. I just call Him, Jesus.”
And another woman laughed in agreement and said, “And I just call HER, God.”
Amazing. Here we were voting. Strangers. Masked and standing our 6 to 8 feet apart. All of us having talked about the disquiet we were feeling in the midst of COVID-19 and a rather tumultuous election, and suddenly we were laughing, in agreement about how faith could help weather life’s storms…. even though our faiths were quite different.
As I put my ballot in the slotted secured box, my new neighbors cheered. I felt a real sense of community and peace. Somehow more hopeful about our world.
On my way home, I reflected that for all of us in that line, our faith was part of what is helping us with adversity… and yes, in the line around me, we were part of at least 4 very different religions.
Yet, different as our religions are, for many of us, our faith is part of what helps us cope:
- By encouraging us to reframe events through a hopeful lens
- By fostering a sense of connectedness
- By participating in the rituals of our religions, such as prayers and scriptures.
I found myself grateful that Divine presence has been helping people get through hard times for thousands of years. I am thankful that with all our differences, there is a common need to come closer together, laugh together, and respect the divine reflected in each other.
I invite you to pay attention to the peace within. It is there.
Take a few moments as you start this day to allow yourself to sit quietly. Close your eyes. Now simply allow yourself to quietly breathe in and out. Paying attention to how your breath can quiet your mind and calm your spirit. If you participate in a religion, allow an awareness of the Divine to simply be with you during this time of quiet breathing.
After several moments of quiet breathing and meditating, reenter your world.
May we all have moments of peace, no matter what is swirling around us.
Now take on the week.
Lucretia Hurley-Browning, MDiv, MS, is a guest writer whose recent background includes Chaplain of Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital and the Director of Juniper Tree Counseling Center. She is a therapist and ordained United Methodist Minister. Currently she is a writer by day, a reader by night, and is passionate about living life meaningfully with a good dose of fun.