For the next few days I am going to Cape Cod.
Despite living in New England for almost eight years, I only got to Cape Cod the first time about a year ago. This is my third trip since then. It has become something of a touchstone for me, a place of peace in a world, both private and public, that has little peace. It’s where I go to reclaim the inner peace that nourishes me through the whackadoodle thing that is day to day life.
The woman I love suggested I go. We had a trip planned but that feel through. I figured I’d just stay and work (there’s always work to do.) through the long weekend, but she felt like I could use a few days away. My hope was that she might go, but her life is even more whackadoodle than mine right now, so it was not meant to be. In the end, whackadoodle almost always wins.
Unless, of course, we fight it.
For most of us, peace does not come easily. It’s a strange world we live in these days, with too much change going on in too short a time. There’s strangeness in politics, society, culture, technology – almost all of the world we touch.
And that doesn’t take into account the personal changes we live in. One of the things we don’t think about is that when society changes at a rapid pace, so does the rest of our lives. I’ve had kids come and go and come again. I have a woman I love. I have people who love me and people who dislike me and people who have opinions both ways who don’t know me – all claiming their part of me. Just like all of us.
My finances go up and down. My work goes up and down. My faith rises and struggles and grows and everything it touches does the same. I have creative days and flat days. I have days I am relatively free of depression and days it hangs over me like a black fog. Just keeping up with life is a blur. And in the middle of this, we’re supposed to find peace too?
And in the middle of this, we’re supposed to find peace too?
There’s a lot of ways to find peace. But none of them just happen. We have to choose it. Work at it. Make the time for it. Carve out a portion of our lives to do what brings us peace and make that portion sacred. We can’t depend on the world bringing us peace. It’s too busy bringing us peace-thieving activity, noise, and confusion.
What do you do to find peace? Is that time or activity sacred? if not, why not?
I think it’s odd. If we are sick, we go to the doc. We take the medicine. We do what it takes to get well. No one questions us if we take a couple of days off when we are fighting pneumonia. But take a couple of mental health days, a day or two of purposeful rest and spiritual nourishment and people look at us like we are being frivolous.
There’s nothing frivolous about restoring our souls. It’s the foundation everything else stands on. Neglect it, and the rest eventually, always, will come undone.
So I will go. I will stand on the beach and simply be. I will release everything on my mind and troubling my spirit and breath in eternity. I will stand amidst sand and shore that began before my imagining and will be there when I can imagine no more. I will cease to do and reclaim the art of being that has taken such a battering.
I can’t tell you why. I am not sure myself, but the woman I love was right. She generally is, blessed with an insight I’ve learned to pay attention to and with a gentle spirit that helps me listen, even when I don’t want to.
I wish she could go with me. But then, I generally wish she could be with me. However, I have lived alone a long time. I am at peace with aloneness. I rarely feel lonely. And I won’t these next few days.
I never know what comes of these getway days, but I always come back changed. I think that is what happens when we have nothing to listen to but ourselves and our God. What is real and what is deepest finally gets a chance to rise.
“You’re running away?” someone at the diner said to me this morning. No, not that. I am not running away. I am running towards. I am not sure what I am running towards, what I will find, what will rise to the top, but I know it’s something good and in the end it’s peace.
And of course the fun of whacking whackadoodle on its pointy little head.
Be well. Travel wisely,