A Hard Peace
August 23, 2012 § 53 Comments
I often refer to “peace.” I say that peace is “always there.”
Sounds good and works so seamlessly when life’s ordinary ups and downs knock you sideways. Stuck in traffic and late for an appointment? No problem. Just take a breath and feel the peace of acceptance.
But when you confront real loss, the kind that takes your breath away- a child dies, a parent disappears into dementia, a marriage unravels- what does it mean to say that you should seek the “peace that is always there”? How exactly does that work? What possible consolation could exist for such loss?
I don’t know the answer. But this I believe.
If I can spread my arms wide and hold that terrible loss in my embrace, if I can stop all the avoiding, all the thinking, and just let that howling grief come in, I will feel for a moment nearly undone. Standing on the edge of a terrible precipice.
But it will be there- in that horrific and unfiltered embrace of loss- that acceptance will come. Not made up acceptance. Not “all things work out for the best” kind of acceptance. Not happiness, not even contentment. And certainly not free of the loss and pain. But free of all the resistance and all the pretend consolations. Free to find and hold my strength again. Free to go on.
It’s a hard kind of peace. But when unspeakable loss comes crashing in, it’s the only kind I know.