We all have heard the Beatitudes, and especially (no doubt) remember, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” In a world of trouble, violence, and anti-faith, this is a tall order!But there’s another thing that makes being a peacemaker in our world even harder: Being at war with ourselves.
Chronic illness and pain are not welcome inhabitants of anyone’s life. It’s so easy to go through the painful days and flares thinking, “My life would be so much better without [fill-in-the-blank-diagnosis].” Or, to repeat over and over, “I hate [diagnosis]! I hate [diagnosis]!” Easy, yes, and very human, of course. But, as I frequently say, illness and pain “just are.” That is, as much as we’d like to live without them, at present, we can’t. And the more we deny the situation, or battle ourselves internally, the more “at war” with ourselves we’ll be – and the less able to bring peace within or outside our corners of the world.
Too simplistic? Too childish? Too naive?
Sometimes, what is most “simplistic” is, actually, spot on. Sometimes, we adults can make things way too complicated. Sometimes, the fruits of stark, “adult” regard for suffering (that is, attitudes of “life is hard and then you die”) are just the opposite of what we, children of Our Lord , need to be able to live our our faith and truly shine.
Accepting pain is difficult, but if it is our lot, our journey, then bountiful peace will make it easier. Loving ourselves, as we love others, will enable us to have clarity when we go into a situation where peace is required.
In writing a play, there are lines, the words actors say. Bubbling underneath is a whole other way of communicating called “subtext.” It can be as simple as a character saying, “No,” and behaving, “Yes,” or more complex as scene after scene unfolds with action occurring one way, when underneath it, other things are in motion to counter the overt.
Life is like this, too. We might say, “I want to be a peacemaker.” But if, inside, we’re at war with ourselves, that is, if we’re battling the lives God has given us, we’ll be sending out mixed signals, at best. A “subtext” that runs counter to bringing true peace.
We probably cannot accept our lives with pain and illness all at once. And, we’ll have days when we would rather these burdens weren’t part of our lives at all. But the more we pray to the Lord for acceptance and peace, embracing all that we are and all that these wondrous lives – gifts from God – entail, the more we’ll be able to go forth and carry an amazing example of peace to others.
Blessings for the day,