Peace, please

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Sometimes all we need is a bit of quiet. In fact there are times when we'd give almost anything for it. Perhaps your home or office is serving as a temporary construction site. Or the kids have been home all day, and it's been raining nonstop, and they are letting off all their steam. Or the noise might not actually be literal. There may be such a hubbub of fear, concern, and frustration rocketing off the walls of our mind that we can hardly think straight.

The demands and obligations of the day often don't allow us to retreat. Yet, there is an ever available oasis that we can resort to anytime day or night. We might not be able to stay there long, but I've found that even a few moments can calm me in the midst of the greatest confusion.

For me the door to this haven is the idea, "God is in this place." That may not be everyone's door, but the ideas such as "Divine Love is in this place" or "Divine intelligence is in charge here" or "I'm not alone; God, good, is with me" can give us a spiritual retreat from the confusion and noise of the day.

At one time I was teaching a class of eighth-graders. Five minutes before class my classroom was a haven of calm and order. Then the school bell would ring, and everyone would switch classes. Three minutes later the classroom would be full of disorder, bickering, and complaints. There was no oasis of calm. But I developed the habit of turning to God and insisting, "Father, these are your children."

That quick and insistent thought helped me keep my cool. It gave me the patience and ability to restore some order. It also helped me aid the students who were struggling with the class work. Why was this so? For me, admitting that these students were God's children, helped me know that they weren't defined by the limiting labels that are usually applied to them. Of course I didn't say this out loud; it was a mental protest against the picture in front of me.

I think of God as Love and as the governing intelligence that is operating in our lives. This habit of acknowledging God's presence brings me the peace and reassurance that nothing else can. Was the classroom in upheaval? The insistence that God was present and in control - that this divine intelligence was working in me and every student in the room - changed my way of thinking, and over time it was more and more evident in the students' behavior as well.

More recently, my wife and I went through a large construction project at home. Furniture was stored in the corners, paper lined the floors, and dust, dust was everywhere. Nail guns exploded in the background. Again, the simple - and frequent - assertion that God is present helped me remember that there was a spiritual order that hadn't been messed up. I felt at peace every time I turned my thought in this direction.

When Jesus was helping his followers know how to pray more effectively, he taught them to go into the closet and shut the door. This spiritual metaphor remains a great help. We can find a quiet place in thought where we can close the door on all the disturbance around us and remind ourselves of our ongoing connection with God, with good, with intelligence. Sometimes we can do this only for the briefest of moments, and other times we have the luxury of spending some "quality time." But even the briefest of moments can restore our peace of mind.

In a short article, the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, wrote about the effect of this consciousness of God with us, "Always bear in mind that His presence, power, and peace meet all human needs and reflect all bliss" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," page 263).

So whether you are in a crowded mall, in the midst of a conflict in the office, troubled late at night by the problems affecting your family, this potent sense of God with us, God in control, divine intelligence guiding and directing our steps, will bless you with true peace and a realization that good will be the final result.

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

Isaiah 30:15

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