There's an old Sunday School song we used to sing and one of the verses starts with "I've got the peace that passes understanding, down in my heart." That's how I felt today. My heart felt peaceful and light. It could have been the sunshine and warmth. It could have been the church music and Mom's choir singing about Jesus rising again. It could have been visiting Lino's grave to celebrate his 43rd birthday. It could have been spending quality time with my family. I can't say for sure but my heart is peaceful. It is quiet. After weeks and months of stress at work and at home, the restlessness and irritation has been hushed.
"The peace that passes understanding..." I felt that peace when I visited home in December. I was blessed to travel with my dad and stepmom to American Samoa for a week after Christmas. Dad's brothers and sister found out he was going and decided to also make the trek. So all of the siblings could be together. One day I went for a walk into the jungle behind my uncle's house. The busy sounds of the main road in front of the house disappeared quickly as I became surrounded by the trees. The startling silence, only broken by small sounds of insects and the gentle breeze, fell over me. The heat of the day turned to coolness in the shade. My daughters asked if I was creeped out. I've been telling them too many 'aitu stories. Happily no, there was no sense of danger or eerie hair standing on the back of the neck. It was the total opposite. There was a feeling of calm. I was washed over with a sense of tranquility. I was home. This place where I was born and raised, how could I feel anything but peace? The night we were leaving I went out to my grandmother's grave and sat down. I just sat. I let the emotions run over me as they do when I know I have to leave again. My uncle and cousin came and sat with me. No words were spoken. There was no need to be vocal. We only felt. I quietly, in my mind, said goodbye. I don't know when I'll go back again. But I know I'll always feel that pull towards home. It's my beacon. My place of peace.
Unfortunately, real life and duties pulled me back along with the stress and urgency that comes with being a full time working mom. That peace I had being home? It was temporary. Once I returned from my trip and jumped back into work, literally, with deadlines and schedules, the turmoil began to boil over. It got to the point where I retreated into one of the bedrooms in our home that was unoccupied at the time, and just sat in the dark. I breathed. I listened to the soft sounds of the house. I could hear my daughters laughing through the vent. Muffled but present. I could hear the television in my room as my husband watched his show. I heard the heater turn on to keep the house warm and cozy. And I sat. And breathed some more.
Today was different. Even though we were busy, I did not feel rushed. I did not think about what needed to be done at home or at work the next week. I lived in the moment. I enjoyed each song, each conversation, each bite of food, each story told. I relished the laughter of the kids. I savored the coolness of the ice cream contrasting with the warmness of the sunshine. I appreciated the time spent with my mom. I rejoiced in His many blessings. I look forward to finding more days like these.
"I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart. Down in my heart to stay."