It feels odd to post about this word today; it felt odd to me yesterday when during a walk, the word settled into my mind like a message. Really, I was disturbed yesterday; it had been a troubling week. I knew people - my friends - who were mourning; most newscasts on TV pointing to 9-11, and even more possible terror threats, my heart was aching for little Kienen who was missing, and his family, and all the friends who were searching for this precious little boy. And I thought of all those children who were missing their daddies after the horrific plane crash in Russia; young widows like I myself once was who face a new life full of uncertainties... and I, like so many of us, had a heart full of aches, and full of prayer.
The night before, we had been watching a documentary on 9/11, and all of a sudden I had enough - I just couldn't watch it anymore. The sorrow, even all these ten years later, seemed to great, the grief too raw.
Serenity is an illusive thing, something longed for, like peace. And as I walked, and thought, and prayed, I knew I had to change my focus.
Years ago, I wrestled with God about the pain in the world... the fresh grief of being a widow drove questions that were just polite to blazing realities of why; why now, God, why me? I realize there are some that are more accepting than I was, but I had to ask the questions, and to me it was better to ask than to bury them into some corner of my heart. I came to the conclusion that I really couldn't blame God, and also came to believe He didn't cause my pain, or cause cancer or any other tragedy. But somehow He allowed it...
And even though I didn't always get it, I became increasingly aware of His presence - that the God of creation was with me in my pain and would not let me go. That lesson has remained with me, and although I still at times ask the questions - I love that God is approachable, and I can be real with Him - and even though I don't always get the answers, it comes down to trust... trust in a God who is so much bigger than I.
So serenity.... perhaps it comes when we are grateful for the moment - this precious moment we now have, and see all the good in it. It comes when we look up, instead of at the troubles all around us. (And like Peter, who had faith to walk on the waves, but then stumbled - this is hard to do!). Perhaps it is reaching out to God when it is dark outside, and say "I trust you, even in this". It is being aware of Emmanuel, which means God is with us, He has not abandoned us. It is a journey of learning to trust, of picking myself up when I stumble, of knowing I am not alone.
And I join with many others in praying today for those who grieve and mourn, in rejoicing in the safe return of a little boy to his mommy's arms, in being thankful for right now, this beautiful moment.