Despite my tumultuous soul, peace prevails


A rapidly increasing climate crisis is tearing through our precious earth. Millions of misused weapons take the lives of the most innocent members of society each and every day. Social injustice prevails. Racial prejudice remains ever-so prominent. There is loss, there is mistreatment, there is violence. 

Our world is in a state of disarray, and after being constantly bombarded with the negatives, it’s hard to imagine the situation improving. That’s why, thirty years from now, I hope that peace prevails not only within me, but within our world as well. 

Even now, in my still teenage-yet-almost-adult stupor, I am always making a conscious effort to find peace. It is in the most mundane corners of our city, Grand Rapids, that I find this. Sometimes it’s a feeling, other times it’s a person, or a book, or a cup of chai tea made just right. 

Life has not always been peaceful, though. For too many years, I chose to disregard peace. I devalued it. Like a piece of paper, I crumpled it up and threw it aside, leaving it to settle in the dark, untouched corners of my mind. Seemingly unimportant, there it remained. 

That is until I came to the realization that peace is not always found in the most extravagant moments. Peace is not always a sudden turning point where one is able to pinpoint exactly when and where the feeling was achieved. Before, my vision of peace was that of a yogi sitting cross-legged in a field, eyes closed and mind focused on their breath. It took the form of a life without deadlines, responsibilities, or stress. Shaped as a happy face balloon, peace seemed as though it would be permanently floating in a direction opposite of my own. I began to wonder if peace was an achievable feat at all. 

I didn’t find peace; peace found me. Maybe it came with age. Maybe it came with life experience. Or maybe it came solely because I needed it to. It was a slow process, so slow that I didn’t even notice it had happened until it was already over. Peace entered my life like a slow fog, and one day I woke up and realized that I achieved the seemingly unachievable. I had found peace. 

I found peace in the pockets of silence that accompany a cool summer morning. The hazy morning sun spread her hands open for me, bringing an offering I never thought I would get the chance to accept. I found peace in the sound of a Lake Michigan wave meeting the shore, only to say goodbye seconds later. Her sea-green waters never failed to encompass me, enveloping me in a special, intimate hug. I found peace in the way that light filters through a fifty-year-old window, tracing plaster walls that have seen more lives than I will ever be aware of. The words of those before me wrote novels throughout my home, spreading stories upon my curtains and sheets. I found peace not despite my stress, but because of it. 

To live a life without peace is to exist within a world of never-ending chaos. The bad days become unbearable and the good days lose their sparkle. Without peace, life takes on an incurable dullness. In thirty years, I will have not just a high school, but a college diploma. I will have a job, a career, and maybe even a family. I will have experienced love and loss, happiness and heartbreak. I will have met amazing people right alongside terrible ones. If all goes accordingly, I will have lived. 

As we grow older, our lives, and ourselves, change. This is a fact, an unwavering fact. Undeterred by my unconscious prejudice against change, I accept this as truth. But, even still, there is one virtue that I vow to always keep in sight: peace. 

I hope for peace within myself, and also, the world. I wish food upon the starving, clothes to the homeless, and love to those who lack it. I hope that our mother earth finds salvation instead of destruction at our hands and habits. I hope for the end of forest fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. I hope for a cure for cancer. I wish for peace upon battlefields, and for all political relations to be purely diplomatic instead of violent. 

Expectantly, in thirty years I will have many more pockets of peace. Even if it chooses to come and go, I hope that it will always remain in the background, unwaveringly mine. If patience is a virtue, then peace is right alongside it, and I wish for nothing more than for it to be ours.