I don’t know much about Kara Tippetts except that she’s fighting cancer and fighting for life every day. Maybe you’ve heard of her. She recently wrote a public letter to a woman who has scheduled her death. And she’s written a book called The Hardest Peace. I haven’t read the book, but in promoting her book, she’s asking for stories. Stories of others’ hardest peace–where we’ve learned to expect grace in the midst of life’s hard (the subtitle of her book).
I’m not fighting her battle, but we all fight our own battles, and grace is for all of the battles, for all of the fighters in all the arenas.
And the battle I fight is against the things I cannot change.
Namely, the past.
Sure, it’s the past, but I blame it for my present and worry that my future will be radically different because of things that happened then. Things I cannot change.
So peace for today eludes me because I haven’t made peace with the past.
I’m not sure what that looks like anymore.
I used to think it meant surviving it. And survive it, I did.
Surviving the hard times used to seem impossible. There were days I was certain I wouldn’t come through it alive or anything looking like human.
But it’s four years later. And I’m still alive.
I wonder, though: Am I living?
We got through a hard time in our marriage, and we’re so much better for it. But now that life has settled back down, now that the crisis has passed and urgency worn off, I find myself drifting into seas of bitterness, oceans of regret. If I’m not careful, I’ll drown in them.
Peace, then, is what could keep me afloat.
And peace, in part, comes from letting go.
I learned this to a point last year when I released some things, big and small.
But I don’t think I really let the past go.
And that doesn’t mean that I have to forget it, exactly, or pretend it never happened.
Maybe it has more to do with this thought Tippetts shares in her book:
Finding peace means recognizing that I don’t get to control all the things that happen to me. That maybe–certainly–there’s a larger story being written. One that doesn’t include a perfectly planned out (by my standards) life. As a writer, I can relate to these words. There are scenes in my stories that are hard to write because they wreck someone’s world, but it’s for the greater good.
I need to trust that the same is true in the story of my life.
The hardest peace. What a challenging thought. That peace doesn’t always come easy. But that it still comes.
Do you a have a story about finding the hardest peace? Share yours, too, and link to it here. Then head over to the contest for the book release here and enter to win prizes, including copies of the book.