Where do we find peace?
Get ready Southerners, here come our new neighbors. The fruit basket-turnover of 2020 has begun. Large cities gripped by COVID-19 along with violence and rioting are seeing unprecedented population shifts. Prepare to defend our pizza and explain why we think biscuits are better than bagels.
New York City, Chicago, Portland and cities in California are seeing citizens pack up and leave. Some say it’s temporary, but others claim it’s for good. A New York Times story by Matthew Haag reported, “Lines of people waiting to place moving boxes on elevators have formed at apartment buildings.”
Granddad’s pig farm and Uncle Jim Bob’s gas station don’t look so boring now that the windows of the Manhattan office have been smashed. Our sleepy little towns will soon be overflowing with newcomers.
But don’t yank up the welcome mat and slam the shutters just yet. Sure, it’s never easy to open the door and find distant relatives on your porch, but this time may be different. Although there are deep divisions amongst us, there’s also a feeling we’re connected and need to help one another. We’re all united as we struggle to find a place of peace.
Virtual technology frees us from being tied to one location so we’re suddenly able to roam. But which of the two roads diverged in the yellow wood do we take? Where will we settle? Do we return to our family roots or follow the dream of living on a mountain top or beside a roaring river?
Is there actually a location where we can find peace? Some prisoners of war have told how they managed to find peace while being held captive, so our house, city and state obviously don’t always equal contentment.
I’m pretty sure someone once said he was giving us the great gift of real peace, not as the world sees it, but through the eyes of the Holy. He followed it up with, “let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Oh . . .that’s right, it was Jesus. It’s almost like he knew we’d be here in 2020 needing this peace that passes all understanding. Imagine that. Peace isn’t found in a location, but within our hearts.
Perhaps 2020 is a reminder that in order to find peace in the midst of strife, we need to discover the true version of Holy peace that comes from God. It makes us want to change the bad, move ahead, and help each other. This kind of peace will lead us to take pride in our work and fight for the oppressed. We’ll want to visit the elderly, value education and pray more. A heart full of peace will inspire us to help a stray dog, hum an old song and buy new coloring books for the single mom’s children. Holy beautiful peace will lead us back to what was once right and good in America.
And of course, a heart full of true peace will make us welcome strangers — even if they don’t like our pizza or biscuits. After all, they’re our American family — with funny accents. And after one steamy August in Alabama, they’ll probably move back North anyway. But then, we’ll have distant cousins to visit in New York City.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times. Click HERE to see and share it with someone.
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