I’m no Robert Frost, but I am an admirer of hearing “the only sound’s the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake.” I’m not an enthusiast of freezing precipitation and the havoc it wreaks on roadways, but I am a fan of the peaceful nature of falling snow and an even bigger admirer of Fridays. Fridays are the highlight of the week, but a Friday in a world that looks like a snow globe is a special treat.
The peaceful nature of today’s snowfall felt like a call to drop all the worries and stressors that have been weighing me down. The dance of flakes in a symphony of spiraling, soft landings seemed to lower my stress level and reminded me to just let go of the silly stuff that I can’t control. (Hopefully I don’t sound too much like the Frozen soundtrack.)
If you are not in a place where you can see or hear the snow, I hope you will enjoy this clip from my front porch.
The sights and sounds as the snow began to fall harder this morning
The Intentergy message for today is to let the falling snow be your call to peace. Even if for only a minute or two, taking in the frosty scene can help you forget what’s wrong with the world and the blanket of white can be a clean slate allowing you to find calm.
See the world for the beautiful and chaotic snow globe that it is.
Let the simple pleasure of flakes falling be the counterweight to your worries and find some balance between stress and serenity. While we are like Robert Frost in that there are probably miles and miles to go before we sleep, we can be grateful for the opportunity to watch these woods fill up with snow and empty our emotional overloads as we enjoy the sights and sounds of this wintery season.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If there’s enough snow, you can throw some snowballs to get frustrations out as well. A very peaceful practice!
P.P.S. My allusions to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” do not have to stop here. I am so glad we are past “The darkest evening of the year,” and the day light is blissfully growing longer.
I will be honest. We have turned off our TV this week. (Mostly because I feel like the first five days of violence in America’s streets were enough to give my kids the understanding that things are not okay.) Secondly, it has allowed hubby and I to turn down the noise of the media and have serious and sincere discussions with our children about what’s going on and the ugly history behind it. The truth is we can’t turn off the ugliness in our world. There is no universal remote for peace, kindness, or equality. We can, however, turn up the discussion on what must change and tune into what will make our world a better place.
Currently, I am reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I began reading this before George Floyd’s tragic death, but the book’s contents have rang painfully true for me in these times. Previously I’d read about the history behind the apartheid in South Africa and the impacts of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, but never did I give the circumstances of those who lived it much consideration. In my mind, it was as if a switch must have been flipped in South Africa, one day the apartheid ruled and the next day things were hunky dory. The problem with my thinking on that situation is as wrong and hurtful as those who are allowing generalizations and stereotypes to rule their reactions and beliefs about the protests and riots today. I am grateful Trevor Noah’s book provided me with the opportunity to grow in my understanding.
Noah does a terrific job of addressing his life experiences and the viewpoints of the South African apartheid in a candid and witty manner. I with that everyone would follow his lead and use this perspective to see the race situation for what it is and eliminate the handy rationalizations that allow the division of people’s to perpetuate.
My two older kiddos have read the I Am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. book and have had numerous lessons about the way he changed the world, but my 5-year-old had some questions about why he didn’t go to school today.
A terrific book on the life and times of Dr. King
The simple answer was we didn’t go to school today because we are remembering and honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
His question in return, “Why?”
Well, where do I start?
I told my son about how African-Americans were not treated equally in America and how Martin Luther King Jr. was a smart and kind man, who tried to get people to work together so that everyone was treated equally. He wanted his children to grow up to have the opportunities all others had. He didn’t want people to have to live in fear of being beaten or left out because of how they looked. Dr. King preached about how peace could and would bring about change if only everyone would open their hearts to its healing powers. He asked people to respond with kindness and understanding instead of anger and hitting. His ideas gave us wonderful guidance as to the ways we should treat one another and resolve our issues.
“Peace is the tranquility of order” – St. Augustine
Sometimes we encounter definitions of everyday things in extraordinary ways. In the priest’s homily this past Sunday, the explanation of St. Augustine’s definition for tranquility created one of those powerful moments for me.
According to St. Augustine, “Peace is the tranquility of order.”
In his explanation the priest addressed that most of us believe tranquility occurs when everything stops, but that is exactly the opposite of what St. Augustine teaches. The priest’s example calm cooperation was that of the human body. The mind, lungs, heart, organs, and skin they are all working together even in our most restful moments. Even those moments we consider tranquil. Tranquility happens when everything is doing what it is supposed to be doing in that very moment resulting in peace.
Wow! What a powerful definition!
These were the exact words that I needed to hear Sunday morning as my prayer list seemed a little longer than usual.
Two days earlier my father-in-law Andy had open heart surgery and was struggling in his recovery. That explanation of how peace and cooperation can bring tranquility was the perfect inspiration driving my prayer for my father-in-law and myself. I prayed that God would bring tranquility to Andy’s heart and body so that he may heal quickly and peacefully.
For myself, I asked God to help me embrace each element of the chaos in my life as a piece of puzzle in my daily search for peace.
You just can’t rush peace. Clearly mankind has not found the means for bringing serenity to the world in the millions of years that we have inhabited it, so why should we expect peace to come quickly and quietly into our daily lives?
As I sat down to write this post, all three children stormed into the office after me. One wanted to talk about a homework assignment. The second wanted to watch baseball. The third wanted his second supper for the night. (I literally JUST finished cleaning up the first supper, where he ate three helpings.) All three kiddos laid guilt trips on me because I had gotten home late and went straight into making the first supper. This post clearly wasn’t going to get written without a fight. Continue reading “You Can’t Rush Peace”→
As fireflies make their evening entrance and whippoorwills warm up their whistles, the light wanes and twilight touches porches across the country. There is no better time to feel the power of sundown and breathe in the shift between day and night.
Twilight possesses the power to slow time and heal the aches of the day. I recently had the chance to share a sunset rocking in porch chairs with my cousin. All our lives it seems like we have been racing to get to whatever destination life has in store for us next. Our pride in the tenacious nature with which we usually attack our lives was set aside. The sway of our rocking soothed our need to speed through the rest of the day. Sitting there, being serenaded by the crickets, it seemed as if the sunset was giving us permission to slow down and embrace the chance to just be.
Soaking in the serenity of the moment, we both acknowledged that we felt better somehow. I knew I was tired before our visit, but after taking that time to quietly experience the evening, I found that I would rest better that night.
By witnessing twilight touch the porch, we allowed it to touch our hearts and minds, we invited the sun to take away our worries and weariness.
When twilight touches the porch, we really need to be a part of that moment.
I am always impressed by the way some individuals are able to encapsulate the emotions that are shared by literally millions. The sadness that has invaded our lives and hearts in recent weeks has largely been caused by fear.
The following are posts or lyrics of others that I have found quite profound. Hopefully their words will eliminate any insecurities that you may have about isolation and separation because of the fear that has invaded your thoughts and emotions.
Kelly Sanders Smith, a friend and fellow teacher, shared this thought on Facebook and opened my eyes to a sad reality about what the generations after mine sadly consider as common place.
Every night when I go to bed my mind floods with the shortcomings of my day. Most of the time my distractions stem from my own mistakes. The snippy words barked at my children in frustration.The letter I forgot to send. The phone call that I meant to make. The laundry in the washing machine never made it to the dryer.Did I feed the dog?
If I let my mistakes run rampant, my mind never lets me sleep. The only consolation I find is in the knowledge that I am basically good. Yeah, I am weak.Yes, I am full of mistakes.But, for the most part, I am basically good.Continue reading “Basically good…like everybody else”→
After a long day of travel, we arrived at our rented, vacation cabin. We spent the evening checking out the lake and camp grounds, did some fishing, and tested out the kayaks. When the kids finally realized they were hungry, each began to gather smalls sticks to start our fire. Hubby purchased firewood from the local woodshed and got it going. I dug out the hotdogs, buns, marshmallows, and skewers.
The open-flame grilled dogs were extra delicious and the kids probably wasted more marshmallows than they ate, but it was fun to watch. When the camp fire and “roasting” things began to lose its appeal, the kiddos hopped in the hot tub. I cleaned up the meal mess. Hubby checked out the area map and brochure of attractions.
It was not until well after dark and the kids were tucked into their respective beds that I was able to do what I wanted on vacation…sit quietly.
There is something powerful and energizing in a camp fire. Watching the flames dance and hearing the logs crack you are fully award that in front of you is a living, breathing creature. Even though I was alone by the campfire, I could not feel lonely. Continue reading “A Fire All My Own”→