My eyes flutter open. Reluctantly. I squeeze them shut trying to shut out the sounds of the twins already going at it about some god-forsaken book or toy this morning in their room next door. It’s not even light out. I crack one eye open and look at the clock.
Noooooooooooo. I can feel every aching joint and muscle and cell – even my skin hurts somehow. The tops of my feet are sore. Didn’t they just go down? I groan inwardly. It pushes itself out through my lips a little – an exhalation of pain. Andy mumbles, “What’s wrong.” Not as a question but a statement of fact. I don’t respond as I hear the escalating conflict rumble towards our door with shrieks of “Minnnnnnnnne!” and “Noooooo!”
They burst through our door both pleading their cases at the same time as I put the pillow over my head.
Oz starts bellowing from next door banging on the crib with his empty sippy cup.
So it begins.
It’s always about work and time and kids and work and rest and work and kids. We go in circles trying to make the other one see
how it’s my turn or
I’ve put in so many hours already or
I’m so beat down and tired from the yelling and screaming and
can’t you just deal with them to
you’ve been gone so many nights and
you’re out of town all the time.
What about me? What about my commitments? What about my needs?
At this point it is less sharing and more shouting. Then it’s no words and just slamming doors.
Stomping feet down the stairs.
And the howl of storms inside. Inside my mind and soul. Too much to sort through and too many feelings mixed up into obligations and commitments. I sit back trying to figure out when and how the last fight started – was it something that was left out on the counter or a door unlocked or a conversation or schedule forgotten? And I wonder how these fights started in the first place. I wonder how we will extricate ourselves from these moments where we are on edge and fists clenched and hearts cold – that are becoming too familiar. Because this angst has become the houseguest that has stayed so long we can’t remember what life was like before. Someone we can’t just kick out of the house because what would be left of ourselves if we tried to disentangle from this odd triangle, this trinity of life overflowing with stress maintaining the day to day? The daily toil of survival has become engrafted on to skin and psyche so any kind of rupture would tear more away than we would realize in front of us. Would we be in pieces that would be easily salvageable? Or is that light at the end of the tunnel only the flickering of stars and night?
Being a peacemaker means more than keeping the peace. It means redefining it in flesh-and-blood, and the possibility of wounds and scars.
I’m in my car and listening to the scripture passage on the beattitudes read aloud by someone with a slight Irish accent – warm and soothing, like the rain falling on the windshield. I only say it because I can actually hear the rain since the children are blessedly asleep.
Being a peacemaker means more than hasty promises and temporary truces. It means seeing conflict as opportunity for deeper connection.
I think about the bit on peacemakers being children of God. How we are all children of God and how there’s something interesting happening here. Like maybe since we are all children of God then we are necessarily called to be peacemakers. Not – “only certain people are peacemakers so therefore only certain people are Gods children.” And then I think about the kind of peace I have longed for a while now – the sleeping kind – the quiet kind – the one that I breathe in as I look in my rearview mirror at the children asleep clutching books and stuffed animals. Empty snack traps and half empty juice boxes. Maybe the peace that we make isn’t always between humans who are fighting and arguing or going at it over some stupid toy. Maybe the peace that we make isn’t necessarily treaties or compromises or resolutions. Maybe the peace is simpler than that. Maybe we make peace within ourselves when we see that we are children of God. That we are all children of God struggling and flailing trying to make sense of life and family and work. Maybe that peace is something to be practiced in our families first and with our children and spouses. Maybe that peace is tenuous and fragile like human life but it is still real, it is still promised because it is God-breathed into our bones and marrow.
Being a peacemaker means cultivating more than just an aura of sleepy calm. It means embodiment of Gods promise in the midst of chaos.