Last night we had the third of three evenings with our labyrinth set up in the parish hall. Around the outside and in the center of the labyrinth small votive candles twinkled in the dim light. Several people walked the labyrinth slowly – purposefully slowing down the busyness of late December life to allow for quieting, and calming. They walked the sacred path to the center – each finding their own center in the quiet embrace of the divine mystery.
Outside was a very different story. The wind blew and gusted and at times we heard the shriek of wind against trees, and roof-lines. Then came the rumble of plastic trash cans being randomly redeployed along the streets. Leaves, and debris blew by the windows. There was a chaotic chorus of sounds and sights beyond the window panes.
Yet despite what was happening around us, inside was a haven of quiet, calm and even peace.
Then it struck me… inner peace is the way we most successfully cope with the assaults of chaos in life and the world around us. The more we are centered and nurture our inner life of peace and centeredness the better equipped we are to cope with all of the strife, stress and tension we face in the rest of our life. The less centered we are the more we become part of the chaos and upheaval and add to its fury in the world.
To find ways to nurture our inner life is to provide our self with the tools we need to be in the world and not of the world. To be as much as we are able an non-anxious presence is an anxious world. To be the light on the lamp stand to provide illumination and an example for others who struggle with the vicissitudes on modern life.
It is more than the British sign “Keep calm and carry on” It is being at peace internally which allows peace to flow from us and to calm the people and situation in which we find ourselves. Making the time to have an inner life of grace sand peace is a wise investment for ourselves and for the peace of the world.