By Kenneth Stepp
As I think back through my too many years. I search my memories for those moments in my life of peace. Pure peace. Not fun, exciting, or busy. But peace. When I delve into such things, I realize that I have had those moments. Just not enough of them. I can tell you that the greatest moments of peace I have had have had nothing to do with the decades I lived through when my pockets were full of money. As a matter of fact. It was the opposite. Imagine how surprised I was to find this basic truth tucked away in the poorest moments of my life.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Most of us had perfect peace as kids. Our parents worried so we didn’t have to. My “peace” memories started as an adult. My first one came the day my oldest daughter was born. I use to sit and read to a mound of belly daily. I loved my child long before she arrived. Even though I had no idea if she was my son or daughter. We chatted every day. When the doctor came out and said the words no one wants to hear. My knees buckled. I literally could not stand up. We can save your wife, but the child is in distress and critical… It was just a few horrible minutes, and they brought her to me and placed her in my arms. I sat back in the chair, my baby girl on my chest. Peace overwhelmed me.
I search my mind and realize I have had little peace really. But what I had was powerful. My wife and I were struggling but we both did what had to be done. She was a new mom, I a new dad, and we wanted to make a home for our new baby girl. We rented a small, older, and a bit moldier home in our home town in Kentucky. The front porch had been closed off and carpeted. It was small but very private. Every night after my wife and daughter went to bed, I would go into this small space to study and pray. One night I walked in with some heavy burdens. I owned a tiny remodeling company back then. It was failing. Business was so slow. I was the only one that knew. I sat and lost myself in prayer. Hours past. I don’t understand fully what happened. But I was lost in peace. Though years pass. I will never forget that night.
These memories added definition to my life. There were many more. I just wanted to frame how these “peace” moments healed me at the time. And as I struggle to make sense out of my life today. I am in pursuit of more peaceful moments. More healing. My path as a single man at an age most find themselves partnered. I learn something new each day. I make new friends every day it seems. After the divorce I lost many. It seems when two people split, friends and relatives think they need to choose a side. I never understood that. It was hurtful. But when drawing those lines, the one who claims victim status keeps the people in their lives that both built bridges to. Even children can be coerced into believing there are “sides”. Even more hurtful.
My family was my world back then. What we never think of is that family dynamics change. They evolve. No one told me that the love I shared with my wife would fade, linger a while, then vanish. No one told me that my kids would grow up, move away, and have their own lives. Some in other states. Peace based on things staying the same is not real peace. It’s fleeting. I’m a very different man today. Am I a better man? Depends on who you ask.
So how does one choose peace? Or even find any in these rough and tumble days of being single? I’d like to say I know. But many of us still hang onto the memory of those moments that marked us with peace. I still have my moments. I still have a measure of peace. What’s missing? My mate. My partner in crime. My last love. I believe that may well be the foundation for the powerful peace I remember. Of the many memories I have of the power of peace. That was the case. I had someone I could share life with that had my back no matter what. And I had theirs. Is this why I am compelled to find her? Perhaps something deep inside us knows this.
I believe we are hardwired to share our life with another. Maybe within that wiring peace exists. Maybe we were created to partner. Imagine the peace that comes from being with someone who loves you unconditionally. It’s been decades since I’ve had that. I’m thinking it’s important…
“Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.”
― Christopher Rice