Friday, July 15, 2011

Peace In This House

A friend of mind has been updating me on medical news that their family is collecting and of which they are trying to make sense. They are meeting with doctors and collecting lab panels to discuss a legitimate biological phenomenon. But I am not a doctor, so when my friend and I talk, we talk about the equally real environmental stressors that manifest themselves in blood work and brain chemistry. Talking with this smart and able mama about seeking a particular kind of peace in the home has me thinking and praying and asking God for snapshots of what a house of peace looks like.

Soon after we began our discussion, I heard this song.

I love it. It fills my heart and squeezes tiny tears from the corners every time I hear it. I do want peace in my house. Real. Raw. Blindingly pure. Peace.

Peace, I am learning, is not the same as quiet. I want my babies to grow up into loving and sensitive adults who can live in community. And to that end, I do not see anyway around going toe-to-toe with them on the things that matter and offering gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminders about what it is our family is about. But I also know, in the zeal of a first-born trying to parent, I start tug-of-wars with my little people that could have been avoided. Ephesians 6:4 reminds that parents ought not exasperate. But sometimes I do. Mostly when I am tired. Or distracted. And especially on the days I choose to eat worries for breakfast instead of manna.

But, like I learned at the Akagera Game Park, it is always, always better to remain calm. And when baboons (or babies) want what it is in your hand, you might as well give it.

Psalm 34:14 says, “ . . . seek peace and pursue it.” And so, today I attempt to honor that word by making myself a list of a few of the harbingers of peace in this household. They come to me quietly like the shadows of doves and I trace them here, like chalk on the sidewalk.

There are, of course, the tangibles:
Full tummies
Music, sometimes loud and best enjoyed in a tutu or monkey suit

The Bathtub
Clip-on earrings

A small patch of grass
Time outside

Chocolate milk

Bottom-bunk forts
Fresh flowers
Fresh kisses
A carton of Matchbox cars in the basement

And then there are those bids for peace that are harder to pin-point, replicate, remember:

Saying no to play dates
Saying yes to messes

Little seed-words, planted in whispers
Funny faces

The tipping up of chins

Standing in doorways, thresholds and gaps,

Holding still
Holding on
Holding hands
Looking up

But peace, like our friend Theo reminded my husband, is our responsibility. And there is one thing I can always do. I can be a Mama who smiles.

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