America! Here is How to Stop Your Heart from Breaking

Debbie Walker

Because mine is in pieces.

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All I want is peace. Peace in my mind. It seems that my heart is filled with breaking pieces. Falling down, falling in, falling out of place. I don’t know how to explain it.

My gut is also in turmoil. Is it from the stress that my insides are screwed and tightened till they want to pop? Or is it a real physical reaction taking place? I don’t know this either.

What Is Peace

All I want is peace. But what is peace? What does it mean to me? I asked my grandson who is in the hospital from an attempted suicide that went horribly wrong, or did it? I mean, he didn’t die.

Anyway, the people who saw it happen put out the flames, which left him howling in agony. The fire ate his ears, part of his face, and burned some places down to the bone.

When I asked my grandson what peace meant to him, he replied, “No voices screaming in my ears to burn myself.” So, his peace is the absence of auditory hallucinations.

I then asked my family for their definition of peace. My husband stated, “Peace is me time and quiet after a hard day’s work.” That’s going to be difficult because we are raising 3 grandchildren.

So I try to keep them quiet for him, which is another stressor for me. Debbie, the peace negotiator.

I called my daughter and asked for her definition of peace. She told me, “A place to escape the chaos of racism and the worry that my sons could die while driving black.”

Fear of systemic racism has seeped into her psyche, and she feels the anxiety of millions of mothers in our society and culture. The deep division that runs along racial lines is pervasive and ugly.

As we talked about these issues, it became apparent all she wants is unity. So peace for her is a unified state of heart and mind.

Is Peace a Place?

When I think of a peaceful place, I imagine myself in a mountain cabin surrounded by towering pine trees set back a piece from a turquoise glacier lake. Snow glitters like crushed diamonds in tiny pillows placed on tree boughs and pine cones.

Inside is a raging fire and a fat Christmas tree twinkling in all its glory. Oh how, picturesque! Not if you are broken and shattered, though.

Throughout man’s sojourn on this earth, humans have searched for peace in places. On mountain tops, in valleys, through deserts, or in a cabin among the pine trees.

However, I believe they are not seeking peace, but a confrontation. People wrestle with themselves to overcome bias, hate, pride, worry, anxiety, fear, etc. They struggle to break through to peace.

Just like Jacob in Genesis 32:22–32, who wrestled with an angel and won. But he emerged with an injured limb, a limp, and a new perspective. A testimony to his transformation.

Often, those who overcome adversity carry the scars of their battles. Be it on their bodies or in their hearts.

Is Peace the Absence of War?

It can be. This type of peace is fragile. It is won by defeating a nation and its people. The victors proclaim peace reigns supreme. The losers languish in bitterness.

This has been proven repeatedly in history. For instance, Mussolini gained a military peace by proclaiming martial law. Until other stronger forces rose up to defeat him.

Furthermore, leaders try to install systematic peace. Our Founding Fathers penned constitutional peace expressed by life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sounds good to me! At least, the individual citizen has the freedom to seek peace.

Peace For Us

Which brings me back to the definition of peace for each of us.

Let’s look at the Hebrew and Greek meaning of peace. Both languages have nuanced shades of elucidation for peace. They can use more than one word depending on the context.

The Greek word for peace is eirene meaning to join or bind together that which is broken. In my mind, it is to take separated parts and set them right again.

To knit together the heart.

For example, for many years I was estranged from my family because they did not approve of my marriage. Later before my mother died, I asked her forgiveness and gave her mine. The frayed fringes of my heart were repaired. So forgiveness became part of my peace.

The more recognizable word for peace is the Hebrew word — shalom. It means wholeness, completeness, health, prosperity, etc. I’ve heard said, nothing missing, nothing broken.

I like the sound of that. My life put together, my heart intact, and my health sound. However, to have peace I cannot let my circumstances dictate my level of peace.

Internal Peace

My world can be falling apart, but if I have peace, none of that matters. I could undergo chemotherapy and if I have calm assurance everything is going to be alright, my body can respond and help the healing process.

I could be facing eviction, but if I have peace, I know whatever happens I can get through it. Even though my circumstances scream chaos and division, my peace shines a light on the matter.

However, in this life, we will have trouble. It is the fate of humanity to suffer. I know, I’ve had my share. So, what do I do to get peace? I simply let go and let God. That is my only answer.

We can’t control many of the things that happen to us. But we can control our response to them. We can make peace in the midst of the storm!

How do I get this peace? Mine comes from God because He is my peace. Isaiah wrote in the Old Testament:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…” Isaiah 9:6, NKJV

In the New Testament, there are many more references to peace. One of my favorites is:

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7, ESV

However, you frame your reference for peace, the fact remains, we all want peace! The peace that passes all understanding is accessible to you.

Just open your heart and let the knitting begin.

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