December 22, 2012

Still Waters and Amazing Peace

I don’t normally find myself at the pool on a Saturday evening, but today it just worked out that way.  There were a few kids playing in the shallow end when I arrived but then, after about 20 minutes, everyone left the pool.  No one else in or around the pool except for two lifeguards and me.  Swimming in a large pool solo was an unexpected gift on a day that I was feeling a little crazy and a lot stressed.  The holiday season is in full swing with our family and a day hasn’t gone by over the past week that I haven’t had a heavy heart for the schoolchildren that were gunned down last week in Connecticut – that I haven’t wondered whether or not I’m doing enough to keep my own 6 year old safe.

The water was perfectly still until I sliced my hand through it out in front for each stroke.  I could look up ahead and see yards of still water ahead waiting to be moved.  The water was quiet;  I could hear it sloshing over my head and ears to the rhythm of my stroke.  When there is no one else in the water, I can fully concentrate on my stroke, the way my body rotates, feeling the resistance of the water as my hands pull their way through it.  I needed that quiet water tonight.   I needed the repetition of following that black line at the bottom of the pool back and forth – no craziness, no chaos, no one else making waves.  After a good workout in that water, I felt centered, calm, and a little more at peace than I was just hours before.  I hope you also can find Still Waters during this turbulent time.
As I was cooling down at the end of that workout, I started thinking of one of my favorite poems by Maya Angelou – she wrote it for a White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony several years ago and it is timeless and better than any Holiday greeting I could send you…..

AMAZING PEACE by Maya Angelou

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft.   Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound.
We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war.   But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, and comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace.  We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.