On Tuesday, my mother-writer-faith friend Roberta passed from this life to the next. We knew the end was near and yet such an event can never be completely anticipated. Whoosh, she’s gone. And here it comes: swift punch to the gut. Oh, and now that, too: the void, the loud, long, dark hole.
Without faith, that is where things remain. With it, something else happens. The opening makes way for new life, perspective, an incredible outpouring of love. The seed planted in death begins to sprout above the earth, slowly but surely. More becomes possible because of a life that was lived in God’s light.
It’s been interesting these last couple days. In letting the special people in my world know of this loss to explain why I might be a little quieter than usual, I’ve been sprinkled with a bouquet of sweet words and thoughts. But despite the loss, I already feel the gain, and because of that, my soul is at ease in this death. Yes, Roberta is gone, but only from our sight. I still feel her soul at my back, and in the smile that lingers even in her absence, the one she offered so generously and with such authenticity.
The secret to true peace, even in death, is an abiding trust in the things we cannot see but choose to believe. This can apply to all situations that do not go as we hope, even the small day-to-day disappointments. By surrendering all to the God who set us into motion, we can truly find an inward, real, lasting peace that surpasses all suffering and unrest.
The saints and Fathers of the Church expressed this well. They have paved a way to our ability to more deeply understand this mystery. How fortunate we are to have their examples and expressions at our disposal, hundreds of years after their time.
Here, for example, are thoughts from a man who lived from the late 1500s to the early 1600s, St. Francis de Sales. Once again, the credit for bringing this to my attention goes to my friend Maria, who leads a Catholic writers’ email list of which I am a part. I pray this beautiful reflection will help you let go of all worry today and find true peace:
“Strive to see God in all things without exception, and acquiesce in His will with absolute submission. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him by a mere upward glance, or by the overflowing of your heart towards Him. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Commend all to God, and then lie still and be at rest in His bosom. Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a determination to cling simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you; and if you find that you have wandered forth from this shelter, recall your heart quietly and simply. Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and do not smother yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext.” –Saint Francis de Sales
Q4U: What word or thought most brings you peace?