We pitched a tent in our yard and “went” camping this weekend. Our fire pit in the driveway we called a “campfire,” even though it refused to burn without the help of a heavy douse of lighter fluid. After s’mores and yard games, we retired to the tent for bedtime stories with stuffies. All in all, we spent about forty-five minutes on our adventure in the wild before hauling ourselves ten feet east through our front door and into our warm, comfortable, indoor beds. None of this “camping” was legitimate enough to ever earn a scout’s merit badge, but we needed a getaway.
Something about summer begs us to get out of town; whether it’s a road trip, a weekend getaway, or a big vacation, all year we look forward to getting out of town. I hope you and your family are finding a way to get creative, maybe snag an RV and hit the road for a bit, but many of us are feeling deflated knowing our plans are on hold until a safer time. Our getaways bring a sense of peace that is hard to find in the normal rhythms and routines of daily life.
That why I felt totally found out when I read these words from Kirk Byron Jones in his article, “Peace, Be Still“: “Because inner peace is God and God is everywhere, all the peace you will ever want or need is already present around and inside of you … One of the biggest impediments to experiencing inner peace is the perception that we are always so far from it. Always, you are much closer to peace than you think. Always, peace within is never more than a small still moment away.”
I realized I’ve always depended on little bitty getaways to find some peace. Some of my favorite pre-corona luxuries were pedicures, massages, and yoga. I love quiet, calm places where excessive chatting is met with a sideways glance, the playlist is Enya-esk, and there is likely a bubbling water feature near the entryway. Each creates a different world I can escape to, setting any worries to to-dos aside for an hour or so. But it always required getting away, leaving my present reality, changing the environment to find that peace.
Now I’m wondering if I’ve been selling myself short. If we think peace is only found somewhere else; if we think we have to pack a bag, hit the road, and open up Google Maps; if we think we need a product or a payment or a service, my, how that limits us! Perhaps we are missing an opportunity. What lies are we leaning on if we buy into the idea that getting away is the remedy we all need?
What if peace really does lie within me, an experience I can access with practice no matter how chaotic my environment may be? Perhaps the map to follow is pointing to a journey inward, to quiet the striving and searching for approval, affirmation, accolades from all the wrong places. Perhaps the vehicle I need is an airplane flying into my soul to investigate the uncomfortable question of why I long to escape the life I created. Perhaps the Airbnb I need to make a reservation for is adorned with gratitude, joy, and simple delights.
Laying there the night of our attempted campout, I looked up and discovered something I had never noticed: the top portion of our tent is transparent, for star-gazing at night. I had the perfect view out the top to a spray of branches and glowing green leaves canopied over our tent. It was an unexpected vista that took my breath away. I realized all over again the beauty of a simple tree that I pass by without a second thought every single day. I can’t help but wonder what other moments of peace are nestled right before my eyes, waiting for my awakening.
It may be a long summer without our usual getaways, but I hope you find moments of peace, healing, and joy along the way.