Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blackbird Singing... Saturdays are for Searching for Peace

I have not been peaceful. Not this whole week long. I've been carrying around a bucket of small sorrows, complaints of too much work, not enough time, moments of frustration. I set it down at each meeting, look at it warily, and sometimes I stir the contents and draw out something - Well, this happened to me this week. And then, when the coffee has been finished, or the day at work is done, or the last hug has been given, I hoist the bucket with both hands and continue on my way.

And so when Ann yesterday posted about a peace retreat, the One who calms the storms... the lightbulb came on. I've been carrying around a bucket of storm-clouds. I've been living in the turbulence.

I seek it, actually. Most of us do, though we complain about it as if we are not secretly pleased that our world is chaotic, our problems messy, that we are pulled apart by many things. I think complexity means depth. I think a soul full of the mess is a soul somehow more alive. Over and over, I watch myself choose to hoist a heavy bucket of thunder and rain, winds at 25 miles an hour, a dash of the earth shaking. It's heavy, and sometimes I do want to put it down. But then it looks so... wild, alive, chaotic.

Why is chaos so tempting? 

Why is seeking peace hard? Why is the "quiet place" so elusive this week?

This morning I've been listening to the song "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney/ John Lennon over and over, the Glee version, the original version, the instrumental version, letting my own shaky voice out of its "I don't know how to sing" cage and singing along. The melody is so simple... and the guitar hums gently along, chiding me. You can't carry the storm clouds forever. You cannot live, not really live, not live the way I want to live, if you do not love what is simple, what is humble, what seems poor.

What did the One who calms the sea tell me? "Peace I leave with you." He gives us his peace. "My peace I give you." The gift is handed over, into my trembling hands, and He overturns the bucket of thunder and chaos, and all of the self I had stored up in there evaporates. All of the glorious, heady, chaotic, "deep" and frenzy - all of that that I have been saying makes me alive, makes me real... evaporated.

There is no room in my hands for both storm and peace. If I want the gift of peace, then I may still walk through storm. But I will no longer be able to carry the bucket of storm around with me, feeding on a sense of woundedness or self-importance. 

He does not leave me only with gift - but with the command that flows from gift: "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." He says fear not. No room in this peace, this heavy gift, for troubled hearts and fear.

Lord, give me this water. I wrote that before the week of storm clouds and chaos, before my love of complaining settled in, and made itself a home in my heart. And this week, I did not pray that. I did not pray, Lord, give me this water. I let my hands clench tight over the complaints, the tiredness, the unwillingness to offer thanks, the unwillingness to speak joy. And I forgot - Lord, give me this water. The words make me free.

May your Saturday wanderings be full of the small humble melody, singing out loud to yourself, drinking a tall cool glass of water, spending a moment just admiring the skyscape outside your window.

Overturn the bucket of storm and let Him fill your hands with the peace.



  1. Thank you, friend, thank you. I needed someone to articulate this for me. How counter-intuitive to realize that peace, most often, is a conscious choice. I believe most would equate complexity and heaviness with depth - but then we grow up and realize those with the most depth are the ones who can access the deepest roots of peace. I wish for both our sakes we becomes those kinds of people...

  2. Oh how I too needed to be reminded of this. I am here, trying to choose the peace over the chaos but sometimes its not very easy. Thinking of you today!

  3. Is that Santa Croce? Just seeing that hints at peace. And this is a beautiful post - I love the musings on our association of depth and chaos - it's true, I find myself doing that, too - looking at the craziness and thinking it's deep, and therefore must be important. The visual of dumping out the bucket of storm is wonderful. Thank you!

  4. I think it's Santa Croce... and yes, Italy just seems to breathe peace, doesn't it? I can't believe that it's been almost 3 months since that trip. It was just exquisite, wasn't it? I miss it all the time. Thank you for visiting!


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