Peace Like a River


Long quote, I know, but I just couldn’t cut it short—it’s so great.

So here is my life. I usually don’t like sharing things like this, but I think I’ve found some ideas about peace and forgiveness so here it goes.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a huge disappointment to everyone around me—teachers, friends, family and myself. I don’t know if it’s just a sense of being completely overwhelmed and stressed with a teensy bit of lack of motivation, or what, but whatever it is, it’s a huge buzz kill and I hate feeling like this.

Anyway, I was at mass a couple Sunday’s ago and Fr. Brendan gave an awesome homily. I don’t know how he does it, but Fr. B (I call him that sometimes to myself) reads my mind—he almost always gives homilies that relate directly to something in my life—it’s awesome and he is great. But his homily was about how everyone is fighting their own secret wars throughout their life, and these secret wars are the best way for the devil to sneak into your mind and corrupt you—so you need to fight it—because it’s hard to be awesome and the devil does not want you to be awesome.

So how does he try to make you lame?

Fr. Brendan pointed out that he does not go up against our strengths but he goes against our weaknesses, because he is a sneaky little chump and he will not go against something he thinks can defeat him.

So this is why I keep feeling like a failure and disappointment to everyone. The devil knows I hate failing and he knows I’m always trying to make people proud of me, so he takes that a twists it and tells me I’m not good enough for their love and all I am is a burden to those I love most.

These thoughts really stress me out. It’s not like I can just wish them away and they actually leave—they are like a lurking smog in my brain that creeps in whenever it finds an opening. They not only give me a sense of uncertainty, but they also leave me feeling very lonely because I don’t feel good enough for anyone.

This is why when I heard the song “Reckless Forgiver” by Jars of Clay, I felt so so happy because they talk about this feeling. (Side note: I had no idea Jars of Clay were still a thing, but they are, how cool is that?!—they just came out with a new CD called “Inland” and it’s pretty awesome)

“All I want is peace like a river, long life of sanity, love that won’t leave too soon.” –this is what I want and what I am desperately searching for—the sad thing is that nothing on earth will EVER fulfill this want/need which makes it extremely difficult to obtain.

I do think that there are things in this world that can give us peace and sanity, but the part that makes this quote bigger than humanity is the “love that won’t leave too soon.” The reason this is difficult is because there is not a time frame that explains when “too soon” actually is. How can you put a time on wanting to feel love from someone? You can’t because you don’t want it to end. If the love is a real, true love you would want it to last forever, and so if it ever left you that would be considered “too soon.”

I consider my dad’s death as being something that came too soon, I was not ready for his death and neither was anyone else who loved him, but it’s not like one more day, month, year, etc. would be enough to satisfy my longing to have him around—I want him here forever, you can’t put a timeline on that—that’s the same with love.

Therefore, unless we find someone who can love us for all of eternity (mental high five to anyone who read that in the voice of the old lady from Holes) we will always think of our loves as leaving too soon—it’s just a sad part of being human.

That is where our Reckless Forgiver comes in—what up, Jesus!

I really like the idea of God being a reckless forgiver. It makes sense because we continually do the same stupid sins over and over again, and He just keeps forgiving us—if he was a human, we would say he was reckless and we would tell him he should probably find new friends, ones who don’t keep breaking their promises.

This is reassuring because as humans we are going to give into the devil’s temptations and we are going to fail, but since God isn’t human he has the capacity to keep forgiving us and giving us love and so you could literally be the poorest excuse for a human (which none of you are, obviously) and as long as you come back and apologize, God will always forgive you—which is just one of the things that makes him so cool.

So whenever I feel like I’m disappointing people, I just have to remember that God has my back, no matter what dumb mistakes I do and he will never stop loving me—all I have to do is just trust in Him, he will help me out—it’s that simple. It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to fail—just keep coming back and let him pull out the splinters and it will be O.K. and you will get that peace.

It’s like C.S. Lewis said “He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.”


2 thoughts on “Peace Like a River

  1. You are an AMAZING soul that GOD has always used in one form or another! I will never forget the young seventh grade girl who decided upon herself to encourage her friends to come to youth group! I hope you realize by doing that you introduced many to the love and yes forgiveness of Christ ! Maddie, you have always been a light shining brightly and with that comes great responsibility and humanness! The GOOD news is HE is always there to hold us up, give us wisdom and strength and yes bestow peace upon our hearts!! ” peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
    Grace and peace, Cathy Conkin

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