The topic at church this morning was peace, meaning inner peace. The pastor in his sermon was saying that peace is not people avoiding unpleasant situations. That reminded me of a sermon that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave, which is in his book, Strength to Love: that it’s easy for people to have peace when they have lots of money in their pocket, but that God’s peace gets people through tough situations. When King received a death threat, for example, he prayed to God, and he felt a sense of peace.
I’m not sure what to say about all of this. I actually am the type of person who likes to avoid unpleasant situations. I don’t like crisis. I can identify with what one of the characters in Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story asked his wife: Are things the same? And, to be honest, at least at this time in my life, I don’t feel compelled to prove to people that I have inner peace—-that I feel a-OK in horrible situations. When people have remarked to me that I look calm in a crisis, I don’t use that as an opportunity to witness. Sometimes, I’m calm in a crisis because I can’t do anything to solve it, and so all I can do it wait and see what happens. I do admit, though, that prayer gets me through—-at least it puts my mind at some rest while I am waiting. But prayer hasn’t made me perfect, not by a long shot. I’m still fearful of unpleasant situations.