So, sometimes life is hard. Almost every day we all face challenges or difficulties of some kind that make it hard to focus on the good things and blessings that life does have to offer. Time tends to soften the memories of the hard times somewhat, so often times we find ourselves reflecting and wishing for the "good old days". I know and understand these things, but even so, I think that the past few years have been some of the most difficult years of my life. I won't dwell on everything, but most of the difficult times have been related to the slowing down, illnesses and death of my dear parents and the struggles and challenges that other close friends and family members are facing. For me these things are harder to deal with than anything else that I personally have had to face, and I have had many long days and even sleepless nights trying to come to terms with these struggles and my inability and/or inadequacy to do much to alleviate the pain and problems of others that I care about.
There are things that do bring me moments of peace, and I am grateful for them:
Classical Music. I have spent quite a few hours in the car traveling back and forth to visit my parents and other family members during these years, and traveling music of choice has been the local classical music station. There is just something about classical music that helps me to keep calm and to focus; or if needs be, to distract my thoughts away from dark places. Classical music almost always comforts me and brings me peace.
Creating things of beauty. I have not been doing a whole lot of creating lately, but I do find peace in doing such things as planting a bed of flowers, cleaning up a room, folding a batch of clean laundry, or weeding a small section of the garden. My hope is to find a bit more time for creating things of beauty in the coming weeks and months. I love this quote by one of the current Apostles of the Lord:
"Heavenly Father . . . is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father's perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate."
Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf
Morning and evening prayers and scripture study. I have been finding it more difficult to fall asleep at night in the past few years, and I often find myself waking up well before the sun rises, sometimes with specific thoughts and worries, and sometimes just with vague feelings of something not being quite right. I confess that most often I will try to help myself to sleep by reading light and fluffy fiction or with similar type TV shows, but I have found that I get more comfort and peace during sleepless nights when I spend the time reading scripture and seeking the Lord through prayer. Reading the Book of Mormon especially brings me peace and reminds me that my family and friends and the people of our time are not the only ones who have struggled through life. The scriptures remind me that patience is necessary, that struggles and problems are part of the plan of life and will bring us growth and blessings, and that in the eternal perspective, the struggles of life are but a very small moment. If we endure well, we will find peace and happiness. Prayer brings comfort. Patience brings peace.
Visiting the Temple. I absolutely love to attend the temple. I think this is my greatest source of peace. It is a place where I can be of service by participating in ordinances for those who were not able to receive temple blessings during their own lives. It is a place where the veil between this world and heaven is very thin. It is a place where the spirit of the Lord is very strong. I am so grateful to live in a time and a place where temples are so accessible to me. Even though my favorite temple has been closed for over a year and will not open again for almost one more year, I still can drive to several other temples within 30 minutes, and many others are located within an hour or two drive from my home. On the day of my Daddy's death I was able to attend the temple where he had served twice a week for many years, and was able to feel the calming, sweet presence of many family members who have already finished their mortal work on this earth and are now assisting to carry on our Heavenly Father's work in the Heavenly realm. I have returned to the temple several times since and continue to feel this comfort and peace while I am there and I feel stronger when I return home and better able to face the world. Problems still exist in this world and in my life and in the lives of those that I love, but temple attendance is my greatest source of peace.
So these are the places that I turn to for peace. This year our Stake Relief Society (our church's women's organization) has been encouraging us each month to focus on different ways that we can find peace. (They must have had me in mind!! 😊) Here are the areas of focus for the different months so far this year:
January I can find peace in my life by reading and studying the scriptures.
February I can find peace in my life as I walk the Savior's path of charity.
March I can find peace in my life by attending the Temple.
April: I can find peace in my life by using the Atonement daily.
May: I can find peace in my life by exercising faith.
June: I can find peace in my life by sharing my talents.
July: I can find peace in my life by focusing on my family history.
August: I can find peace in my life by counseling with the Lord in all my doings.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Alma 37:37
How do you find peace?