As we pull into the driveway, we come across our next-door neighbor beginning construction. “Look honey, Elizabeth is making some improvements to her home.” I am excited for her, and selfishly hoping it will raise the value of our property. Upon closer examination I say, “doesn’t it appear the placement of her new room is very close to our property line?” Then I scream, “Look at that picture window being placed in the exact location of our large kitchen window! She cannot possibly be serious…? Every moment of every day would have us clearly looking into her new family room! What little privacy we have will be completely lost with the placement of that Anderson Window!”
I am confused, furious and downright offended by her plans. Turning to Ken I ask, “well… what should we do?” I believe his answer was, “well… what can we do?”
I knew something had to be said and I knew I had to be the one to say it. Just what was going to come out of my mouth remained the question. I remember knocking on the door, being greeted by a cheerful Elizabeth, then my hands moving in a robotic fashion, high-pitched voice pleading my case in a somewhat manic manner. Our encounter didn’t last long and I retuned home to an anxious Ken. “So… tell me, what happened?”
“I simply told her that if she chose to have the window installed in that exact spot – she would have robbed me of my peace and serenity. The rest of her life would be lived knowing she had taken My Peace!“ The details of that conversation are blurry but I do remember vividly Ken’s face and then the laughing howl coming from his lips. “Is that the best you had? Where those your fighting words?” For me the beginning, middle and end is My Peace and it is not for the taking!
I was recently reminded about this story from 2001, which I had long forgotten. The telling of the tale brought into focus my need for Peace both then and now. Of all the virtues obtainable – I am drawn to Peace. Any gray area, open-ended discussion or unresolved conflict literally drains me of My Peace. Ken constantly reminds me that patience is a virtue and how I should let time be the remedy. But I am too focused on making everything better & smoothing out the kinks (so that I can get to my place of Peace). Looking back now, I must have sounded a bit crazy. But that was truly the root of my distress and as I stated before – I do not allow anyone or anything the taking of My Peace.
It is clear to see my need for this virtue and those years of practice holding onto My Peace; all there to give me strength today. I am often asked, “How do you do it?” “How do you stay so positive and optimistic in the face of your struggles?” My only answer is the Peace that I receive in His presence. The more I rely not on human understanding and the closer I walk with God – the more at Peace I am. It is a process which begins with joy and leads to trust, trust to confidence, confidence to acceptance and acceptance ultimately to Peace.
“My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give you” John 14:27
By the way – I should tell you that Elizabeth completed construction, changing the placement of her window to look out onto her backyard. I am guessing this may have had something to do with that loony neighbor yelling about her Peace.