Life, Travel Assignments

Making Peace with Peace

Perhaps one of the most sacred things I have had to do over the past few months here in Bismarck, North Dakota is to learn how to make peace with peace.

Growing up I kept a diary. Remember those? This was before it was popular to write our most personal and passionate thoughts online. I am talking about the gold edged pages in a leather bound notebook, the smell of a new journal just aching for the secrets that would eventually bleed onto the pages. That kind of diary.

My diary was somewhat of a safe haven for me. I did a lot of writing throughout elementary, middle, and high school all the way up until now. There is one thing I do remember as a common theme that weaved in and out of the pages of every diary I ever kept though, regardless of age. I want to be happy. Yet for a girl with the whole word at her feet, I could not for the life of me figure out how to achieve it.

Happiness. That was going to be my destination. I want to be happy one day, I read in one of my old diaries recently when I visited San Jose. I felt if I could just be happy, then life would be perfect.

I obviously outgrew the concept of having a perfect life as my goal. I grew out of that a long time ago. What I realized somewhere along the way is that happiness was never what I was really after. It was peace. Peace, or just feeling content.

Here is the thing though: I used to thrive on chaos. Growing up with severe depression, I got used to chaos in my head at all times. My head was the worst place to be, but I didn’t know anything else. I also learned that the only way I could get attention that I desperately needed was to cause chaos in my home. Picking fights with my sister, doing things to get attention, saying things to get attention. I could not articulate it at the time, but what I really wanted to be seen.

That is what we all want though right? We want to be seen, we want to be heard. We matter. We all matter. That said, it is only natural that an innately human desire is to be seen in a way and told that we matter.

Unfortunately, this desire continued on into adulthood where even recently, I find myself wanting to cause chaos in my own life. I cannot tell you how many times I get urges to do that thing… text someone I shouldn’t, start an argument unnecessarily, reach for something that is toxic for me.

What I learned is that I crave chaos because it is all I have allowed myself to know. It is all that I believed I deserved. I was afraid of anything that wasn’t chaos because it was so foreign to me. While I have been in Bismarck, one of my biggest learning curves and also areas of extreme growth has been my tolerance for peace.

I am making peace with peace. I am learning that life does get chaotic but I have ways to make it less chaotic for myself. I don’t have to respond to that text. I don’t have to reach out to a friendship that is beyond its expiration date. I don’t have to go near toxicity. I don’t have to start a fire. I can let the dust settle. I don’t have to check someone’s social media. AND if I don’t, then inner peace is much more achievable.

I am learning to be OK with quiet nights where I don’t talk to anybody and just because I don’t…it does not mean that I don’t have anyone. I have many people that I love dearly and that love me. I am just learning to be okay with the sound of my own thoughts. I am learning to think through things just me and God, without anyone else’s voice being the guide. I am learning to handle my intense emotions and to ride them like a wave because they do eventually crash. I am learning to love coming home to quiet. Some call it quiet, some call it loneliness (I used to call it loneliness)… but I call it peace. I am learning to love peace.

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