The world turned black yesterday afternoon and the skies opened. Lightening, window-rattling thunder, torrential rain. Sirens began wailing between thunder claps. We’re living in a time of excess.
Everything is extreme: unrelenting storms, heat, anger and fear, tiredness, lack of money, news of accidents, to say nothing of the unrelenting and extreme tirades in political rhetoric.
In Kansas City, along with all the other extremes, a large portion of the Interstate beltway collapsed just at the point where three major roads interconnect. The 40-some thousand cars that use that stretch of six-lane road every day are reduced to one lane or alternate roadways.
Things are undone. The world isn’t ending, but things sure are shaky.
How are we to focus on rebuilding our lives when so much feels like it’s crumbling?
I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my grandson a few years ago as we were coming home from church. I’d asked him how he liked my homily and he shrugged and said it was okay. I asked, “Did you even listen.” He nodded. And then he said, “You always talk about the same thing – peace and love. I mean, that’s good, but that’s what you talk about.”
I guess I still am. Oh, I’ve extended my repertoire of peace and love to include being and breathing and forgiveness, but when you get right down to it, those last three are only extensions of the same theme. Love one another/love yourself; be at peace with one another/be at peace with yourself.
The problem, of course, is the how. How to be at peace in all the turmoil?
No doubt, many sitting in traffic, or inching along the beltway on one lane, or dealing with the stop lights and additional traffic on the alternate routes are frustrated. No doubt many last night were frustrated by the storm that hit at rush hour and added flooded roads. No doubt many became angry and tried shortcuts that ended up in accidents. Detours made in anger and impatience often don’t work out as we would like them to.
We all have to choose our own detours. And with every day, we have to choose again. We can react to these times with anger, fear, and frustration, or we can choose a slower detour.
If things are undone, they will, eventually get done. Or not. And perhaps in the “or not” lies the answer that they weren’t vital anyway. If the things are a must, then practice patience with yourself and whatever you must do. Choose a detour around the frustration and the anger.
Sometimes, peace and love, for yourself and for others, is as simple as slowing down, taking a breath, and forgiving the moment.
Now how’s that for rolling fifteen years of homilies into one short sentence!