Peace? What Am I Supposed To Do With That?

Misty day at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

(The Skyline Drive in Virginia, from

I don’t know what I expected from my spiritual explorations, but one thing I certainly didn’t anticipate was that I’d be so bothered by feeling peaceful.

That’s a strange thing to feel, and in fact I just stared at that sentence for a moment before I resumed typing. I still have depressive episodes, and I still have a lot of trouble living in the moment, but when I can manage being here now, I suddenly realize that I feel at peace. That however this exploration and my life end up, ultimately everything will be OK.

This isn’t sitting well with my normal psyche.

My normal psyche, if you haven’t gathered this already, is not very happy. At least not for the last few years. Since somewhere late in the last decade, and especially well into this one, it’s tended towards being depressed and pessimistic. The idea of being at peace was anathema. The idea of not fretting about things which would invariably disturb that peace was forbidden. I can feel depression and pessimism both joining forces to try to lash out at this new thing, make me wait for the shoe to drop – it’s had some success with that – and to try to convince me that all of this is only temporary, and once it passes I’ll be back to that dark pit I keep finding myself in.

And truly, I do still feel most of the time like I’ve dug myself into a hole that I’ll never climb out of, whether that hole is personal, emotional, or financial. The dark places in my psyche keep trying to throw my standard worriers at me. The difference is that when the peaceful feeling has settled on me, those things don’t matter.

Well, that’s not exactly true. They still matter. They still nag at me. They still say Once something really bad happens your optimism and your faith will crack and fall apart. But at the moment, they don’t have the same iron-jawed hold on me.

At least for right now. See? There’s the other shoe dropping coming in. It’s like I’ve been handed peace as this incredible gift and I’m holding it in my hands, staring at it in confusion, and thinking, Peace? What am I supposed to do with that?

Maybe the dark parts of my psyche are right. Maybe it won’t last; maybe some horrible thing will happen and shatter what I’ve worked to build so far; maybe the hole really will get so deep I can’t climb out and will start suffocating, or be so far down I can’t see light anymore.

But for right now I’m enjoying episodes of peacefulness. That’s a big climb up from where I was not too long ago, and I’m going to do my best to not intentionally waste it trying to come up with all the things that could stop it or otherwise go wrong.



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