Calm in the Storm

People who maintain their sense of calm when things around them are falling apart or in a state of flux are a rare blessing to find! I’ve known one or two people like this in my life and they were always great to be around because their calm helped me find my own sense of calm. It was like I somehow forgot where my own inner controls were, but being in their presence helped me remember. My grandmother was one of those people and although she had her share of heartache and worry, her faith kept her calm. Perhaps because of this early example I’ve come to believe that when the world around me is falling, I can still choose to trust that all will be well. Life does go on, even in the midst of an emotional and psychological tornado, so embracing that core of calm helps us to act rationally. So too those times of confusion are the times that enable us to find that part of ourselves that knows how to cope, and how to be a light to others in the storm.
Here’s the deal: if we allow ourselves to be thrown off balance by every piece of disturbing news that comes our way, we are allowing our emotions to govern our thoughts and choices. As we discussed during peer addiction coach training, thoughts and emotions are closely linked and help determine our actions. In a situation where we’ve let our emotions run away with us, our thinking isn’t reliable either because thoughts will chatter endlessly in our heads playing the “what if” game into the wee hours. If our feelings and thoughts activate one another in a hectic way, then we become part of the confusion that surrounds us and there’s little chance of making any rational choices. However, if we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, the Temple where God dwells, we can find composure in almost any situation. And we keep what we’ve found by giving it away: we became a refuge for family and friends who are also struggling in a world of crazy.

Do we need a complete understanding of what’s happening right now to move forward?  No. Do we need to know for certain what the future will hold? No. Do we need to find our way to being at peace with whatever happens?  Yes, because we need to come to a place where we know absolutely that once the upheavals settle down, real peace is possible.  Jesus tells us again and again not to be afraid, to trust God and to trust Him. Opening our awareness to the Divine Life that burns within us happens when we choose to pursue it, and however we choose to find it: through meditation and prayer, journaling, joining a choir, even singing as we hang laundry.  (Okay, I am fully cognizant of the fact that no one but me actually hangs laundry anymore…) Regardless of what tools we use to cultivate a space of quiet peace, we will always find the inner core of peace, that inner sanctuary where Our God has been waiting for us all along.

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About frmichelrcc

I have a degree in religious studies from the University of Wisconsin, did graduate work in theology at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin, and also at St. Paul's University in Ottawa. I have been a Benedictine since I first professed as an oblate in 1982, making final profession in 2009. I have worked as vocations director in a large diocese in the mid-west and am a spiritual director in the Benedictine tradition. I have 3 sons, one of whom is now in God's loving embrace in eternity, and 2 grandsons, Bradley and Jacob.
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