When I was tasked with speaking about Peace and my experience with it these last 4 months I had no idea what I was going to say. You see, AHOPE is not a peaceful place, at least not as I had come to understand it. AHOPE is a place where crisis is happening at all times and chaos seems to be seconds away. This is not what I would consider to be peaceful. I have grown up understanding Peace to be exclusively an external phenomenon wished for by kids and beauty pageant contestants (excuse me, “scholarship programs”). Peace was only something that could happen between two outside individuals or groups that were in conflict.
I had always heard talk about being “at peace” or having “inner peace”. I thought this sounded nice, but had no idea what it might look like in my own life. Because of this lack of experience with “inner peace” I had no idea that I may actually be experiencing it in one of the craziest places in my own life. At AHOPE crisis is around every corner and chaos is lurking, but it does not consume me. Instead I have been able to focus on the relationships that I am building with co-workers and clients alike, as well as the knowledge that I, and those at Homeward Bound are truly caring for the “least of these”. It is a place where the greatest commandment, to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself, is alive, and there is much beauty in that. The realization of this has caused me to also realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, at this time and in this place. The feeling of being where I am supposed to be stops me worrying about most decisions I have made or will make, and this has led me to discover that “inner peace” is a real thing. “Inner peace” is not just a thing for Buddhists, but something that can come from an acknowledgement that you may be in the exact time and place you are supposed to be to bring the Kingdom a little closer to Earth.