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By MARGIE ADAMS
Spiritual journeys, like our fingerprints, are unique and individual. Our stories belong only to us and our personal spiritual journeys belong only to us and our God.
Each of us follows a distinct faith journey. As we make our way, there are times when we go off the road. We travel over bumpy, pot-holed trails; or we discover a flat tire or two. And there are those wonderful times when we have the top down and the sun is shining, and the road is smooth. We are balanced and calm, free of worries, fears and stress. These are moments of peace of mind.
Years ago, when I found my myself on the exit ramp with four flat tires, I was having trouble naming the pain I carried. One afternoon, as I spoke to a friend, I realized she had what I was seeking — peace of mind. Her husband had died quite young and, throughout the hard life to come, she had raised her small sons alone. Now one of them, in his 50s, was battling brain cancer.
What was remarkable about the encounter was how she spoke. Authentic, wise and calm. It was as if the Holy Spirit had whisked away any fear, anxiety or anger. Her shining love of God poured through. She knew she was a beloved child of God.
It was then that I knew the question I had to ask myself: What does peace of mind mean to me?
The work that I do has led me to appreciate my sorrows. I am grateful to be on a journey as a wounded healer, claiming and naming my wretched, wounded side which is in need of healing.
For many of us, fear stands in the way of peace of mind despite all the love we know God has for us.
Fear and anxiety wear us down and wear us out. Worries and concerns, cynicism and judgmentalism (gossip) take up so much space in our hearts and souls. It is a hidden, individual affliction and most of us suffer alone, often taking it out on others.
Yet beneath the fear, anger, anxiety is a person who carries God inside. Spiritual distress is a signal to pay attention — name and claim the pain. This is the first step toward peace of mind.
Our peace-filled moments are not as rare as we may think; we can become more aware of them and marvel in the peace which they bring. We can sense when something has changed, we have changed.
Although Jesus’ disciples did not recognize him on the road to Emmaus, they knew they had been changed: “Were not our hearts burning within us?” (Luke 24:13-35).
The key to finding peace of mind is slowing down and recognizing that affirmation and belonging is already present in God’s unconditional love.
And on my very worst days, I can say: Under the fear, worry, sadness is a person who carries God inside.
Margie Adams is staff chaplain of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.