Finding peace in the storm

Ruth Griffiths

Peace might be the absence of discord but it is also a state of tranquility or serenity. I have found that simply removing yourself from the hubbub of daily living doesn’t instantly produce tranquility.

At a time when I had some decisions to make about my life I sought the peace and tranquility of a lakeside campground in Prince Albert National Park. I thought I would find the stillness I was seeking if I spent some time alone amidst the healing beauty of nature. I was only partially right.

It was mid-September and the beach was deserted. A sunny morning had turned cold and it threatened to snow. I built a tea fire and huddled into a blanket. The wind in the trees and the lapping waves created a soothing white noise that helped to quiet my mind. But the jumbled thoughts in my head continued to rob me of the peace I was seeking

A member of the park staff stopped by to check if I was OK. Outside of another visitor driving through the campground, he was the only person I saw all day. Solitude failed to soothe and the cacophony of thoughts continued unabated.

I became increasingly frustrated with my failure to find peace and solitude on that empty beach. In tears, I decided that the endless activity of my brain was never going to end. I gave up my search for stillness and sank even deeper into my blanket.

As I stopped focusing on my thoughts, I began to focus on the far horizon, the patterns of the shifting clouds and the spicy bite of the air. That’s when a different sort of peace happened for me. I made peace with myself. I decided that it was OK to be who I was, complete with my inability to quiet my brain.

Like the rustling poplar leaves, the lapping waves and the rushing air, my mind is constantly in motion.

Peace arrived when I stopped fighting myself so that I became reconciled with who I am.

Each year during Advent (the four weeks before Christmas), I try to write about the Advent themes. Next week I will write about Joy.