We are here surrounded by peaceful symbols, nature, quiet snowy landscape, the stillness of a Sunday afternoon uninterrupted, a cozy fire in the stove, dinner in the oven and the dog sleeping away his afternoon in his favorite place by the couch. What other trappings could so work to give peace?

I know there is a big and diverse world out there with lots of people, most of whom are not as fortunate to have their dreamed of trappings of peace and contentment, with war, terror, sickness, disease and unrest so prevalent and intrusive upon this longed for need common to humanity. Today I have been thinking about the importance of outward circumstances and how they contribute to our need for inner peace.

The inner emotions I normally experience range along an incline from deep inner peace through the state of general well being to a generally unrestful state which is my today’s experience. The Bible says that ” Jesus is our peace”and I can vouch for the truth of that statement in my own life. Yet like so many other humans I strive to create my own tangible version of peace by manipulating my environment and find that usually I am somewhat disappointed in the final imperfect product and result.

Take this farm as my prime example. We have worked many years to create this life which we now live and enjoy but find that enjoyment and inner peace are very different. The effort that we have expended to surround ourselves with the outward trappings of peace sometimes seem weak and unproductive in this quest. Oh, we have our blissful moments but are they a result of our living ways or something else working through these conditions to meet us and set us at inner ease?

Don’t get me wrong, as I personally would not want to trade places with anyone and do love our farm and life here. But having all the physical parts in place only highlights the incompleteness of its’ power to meet that inner need for peace. One is without and the other within. The outer reduces the distractions and sets the stage but inner contentment is from another source.

It may be that inner peace is really beyond our circumstances. I once saw a picture depicting inner peace which was of a bird , a Baltimore Oriole, feeding its’ young in one of those hanging nests which they are noted for. This nest was shown blowing in a hard wind and was located on a tree branch right above a turbulent waterfall. Hmmm, not the most peaceful way to raise a family.

So where is the answer? Maybe it’s in this Bible verse ” Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you”. Is the cart sometimes before the horse? Think about it.