Peace comes from within and can only infuse other lives. It’s harder than we think. Many of us struggle to be at peace with ourselves, there’s always something we want, something we want to change – so we add our sweeteners.
In Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott imagines herself searching for “that elusive thing” at different stages of her life: getting away from parents, some meaningful work, finding someone special, having children, getting rid of the children:
‘Most of us try to live in some variation of the Serenity Prayer, in acceptance, courage, and wisdom, but our minds and bodies do not always cooperate.’*
We get caught up on the sweeteners rather than the peace which is to be found in the incomplete and imperfect person we are and being able to give to others out of our brokenness far more than we can imagine.
In Alan Lightman’s fable about creation, the creator Nephew meets the antagonist Belhor who speaks about the little lives on the little planets only existing for their amusement; Nephew retorts:
‘”But surely it has significance for them,” I said. “Each one of them tries so desperately to find meaning. In a way, it doesn’t matter what particular meaning each of them finds. As long as each of the creatures finds something to give a coherence and harmony to the jumble of existence. Perhaps it might be as simple as a discovery of their own capacities, and a thriving in that discovery. And even if they are mortal, they are part of things. They are part of things larger than their universe, whether they know it or not. Wouldn’t you agree?”**