We see the hope and potential in every young person

The Sound of Peace

“I can’t carry it.  It’s too much!”

It’s a unique gift.
One we all long for until it’s ours.
And God chose to give it to her.
And in that moment she wished it was not her portion.
The pain.
The vulnerability.
The weight.

“I can’t carry it.  It’s to much!”  she cried out, burying her face in her hands.

Everyone sat motionless.  Eyes turned toward the floor.
Silence.

We were all seated outside on an open air veranda.
The same place we had sat for the previous three days for our meals, our sessions, our stories.

I looked around the room.
My eyes glancing from face to face.
Each beautiful face.
From different countries and beliefs.  Different ages and stages of life.  Different gifts and talents.  Different hurts, pains and stories.  Some of us kids, some of us leaders.

But all here.
All at this camp.
All of us searching for peace.

I thought back to two days before this camp.

I was one of eight leaders sitting in a meeting trying to “plan” how this Peace Camp was going to work.
What were we going to talk about?  How are we going to present peace?  What are we actually trying to achieve?
And before long it came down to the question “do WE even have this peace we are trying to “give” to these kids?”

Eventually we gave up and one by one each person just got up and walked out.
We hadn’t planned a single thing.
We knew who was going to speak and we knew that we wanted to tackle inner peace.
We knew that we ourselves were still searching.
With those questions in our heads we all knew that NONE of us were qualified to “teach” on any of these subjects.

We could only be open and honest and real – and share OUR stories.

And it was in this state of absolute “planless” surrender that we set out for the camp.

Eight leaders.
Thirty four youth.
Forty two people in total.
Most of us dwelling in a country that is not our original home.
Refugees if you will.

And the best part was – the youth knew about as much of what was going to happen at the camp as us so called leaders did!

My mind shifted between the activities of the last few days.

Leaders and kids alike sharing their stories for the first time.
Confessions, searching and finding peace in current situations.
Perspectives being challenged and changed through honest discussion and personal life stories.
Plenty of down time for reflection and fun.
Boat rides and swimming – a first for so many of these kids.
Learning to forgive and to work through our “stuff” – asking Jesus to come into our mess and start sorting.
Laughter, tears, … absolutely NOTHING going according to our plan.
And and an undeniable sense of family!

And PEACE.

I looked once more at the faces of these youth.

What was it about them?
What was it about this place?

And it hit me.

Vulnerability and empathy

No one understands hospitality like a refugee.
No one understands belonging like someone who does not fit.
No one understands peace like someone who has seen so much unrest.

These kids get it!

Although most would not choose to have a refugee status or be in a strange land trying to survive, they have been given an incredible gift.

The gift of empathy.
Not pity.
Not sympathy.
Empathy.
The ability to relate and understand and accept.

Peace.
And Jesus.

Are our lives absent of trouble?  Never!

But peace is not the absence of trouble, rather, the presence of God. 

And this Sunday morning – moments before we were to head home – as we all sat together on this wooden veranda overlooking lake Victoria – our troubles had not disappeared.

But Jesus was there.  And there was peace.

“I can’t carry it.  It’s too much!”

It’s a unique gift.
One we all long for until it’s ours.
And God chose to give it to her.
And in that moment she wished it was not her portion.
The pain.
The vulnerability.
The weight.

“I can’t carry it.  It’s to much!”  she cried out, burying her face in her hands.

Everyone sat motionless.  Eyes turned toward the floor.
Silence.

“Jesus, thank you for this gift.  This unique gift you have given her.”  I prayed aloud into the silence.

“Jesus, you have given her the gift to feel a portion of the pain that these kids are experiencing in their lives.  And it’s too much for her to carry.

Jesus thank you that she was never meant to carry this alone.  Thank you that you have already carried it … all the way to the cross…”

The silence was broken and filled instead with weeping.

And this time it wasn’t just her tears.  But the tears of these kids with whom she was sharing the burden.

It was the sound of chains breaking.
Of love and compassion sharper than a knife, searing through hardened hearts.
Believe it or not, it was the sound of peace.

And as each one came to her she spoke the words God had given her for each of them.

And all I could see was Jesus.
In the garden.  At the cross.
He too was given a unique gift.
One we all long for until it is ours.
And God chose to give it to Him.
And in that moment, in the garden, He wished it was not his portion.

“Father, it’s too much.  I can’t carry it.”

The pain.
The vulnerability.
The weight.
The compassion.

And he SPENT himself just to empathize.
He spent himself with LOVE and COMPASSION.
And when He cried out in agony it was the sound of chains breaking.
The sound of compassion sharper than a knife, searing through the hardened hearts.
And after he was SPENT, after He had surrendered his spirit, His life.

The Father took it.
And He spoke the words intended for us, he said;

“Peace, be still.”

That is what made the difference.
That is what changed things.
That is what eventually brought peace.

Not the teaching or the “trying”.
Not the planning or striving.
But the weeping and the crying.
The painful vulnerability that comes with understanding.

The love.

The compassion.

Believe it or not, THAT is the sound of peace.

 

the boat :)

the boat 🙂

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forgiveness campfire

forgiveness campfire

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These guys are not ninja experts!

These guys are not ninja experts!

ninja!

ninja!

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ultimate spoons!  (yes!!)

ultimate spoons! (yes!!)

sharing my story

sharing my story

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wish I hadn't seen this...

wish I hadn’t seen this…

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