A Meditation on Peace…

Orrrr…the Night Before Chemo

Some years ago, when I first met my sister (long story for another time), we went together to the place where our mothers’ ashes were interred. It was the first time either of us had been. I was 26 years old and had only recently discovered I had a sister, and that our mother had died when I was 10. 
I don’t know what I expected to feel or think when we got there. I usually try to keep a fairly open mind in unfamiliar situations & experiences. 

I don’t remember a lot. I remember pinching a rose from the garden and shoving it in the plaque somehow, and feeling very proud of myself for stealing it. I also remember that other than our mother’s name & the relevant dates, there were just two words inscribed:

At peace.

Peace…sounds nice. I certainly know what it’s like to be without it, and to crave it desperately. At times it’s been my struggle with depression that’s caused me to want peace. At other times, my struggles in relationships. I can remember many times during arguments, the other person would say something like, “What do you want?!” And every time I’d say, “I just want PEACE!!!”

There are many options available to us, which promise peace. Believe me when I say I’ve tried a lot of them. But the thing I’ve realised about it is, that the more I strive for peace, try & attain it, the more elusive it becomes. 

Because of my recent encounter with peace- well, with Jesus, who they call the Prince of Peace- I now understand that true peace (the lasting kind that sinks down deep like an anchor and holds you fast in the storms), it can only be imparted. You can’t get it for trying. It’s a gift from God- the gift of his presence. 

Looking back over the weeks since I’ve noticed this peace enfolding me, I can now see where it came from. Numerous people have spoken words and prayers of peace over me since this cancer journey began. I believe words have creative power- the same power that spoke the earth into being- and I believe those prayers are responsible for, in a sense, creating this peace that has carried me. 

My friend Roz in New Zealand, the one who named the tumour in my breast “F*ckin Herbert”, sent me this beautiful Maori prayer right back when I was first diagnosed…

Kia hora te marino

Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana,

Kia tere Karahirohi i mua i tou huarahi.


It’s basically a prayer for peace, but the loose translation goes:

May calm be spread around you

May the sea glisten like greenstone

And the shimmer of Summer

Dance across your path.


I start chemo tomorrow. It’s one of those unfamiliar situations, so I’m going in with an open mind. But I’m also going in with my heart & mind firmly anchored in the bedrock of the knowledge of God’s love for me, thanks to his peace which is acting like both a comfy blanket and a suit of armour at the same time. 

So for all the people who have been sending me messages tonight asking how I’m feeling about tomorrow, I guess you have your answer 😊


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