Peace I Ask of Thee Oh River

Peace I ask of thee, oh river

Peace, peace, peace

When I learn to live serenely

Cares will cease

From the hills I gather courage

Visions of the days to be

Strength to lead and faith to follow

All are given unto me.

Peace I ask of thee, oh river

Peace, peace, peace
I have been thinking a lot lately about being at peace even during times of crisis or when someone pushes my button and I want to respond in anger. The song, “Peace I Ask of Thee of River” popped into my head. I am sure this is a familiar camp song for many of you.  I spent summers singing this song.  I love the soothing music and the harmony. I was content and at peace as a child lazily floating the rivers in the hills of the Ozarks.

I have spent most of my adult years thinking inner peace was not possible.  I was constantly grieving over past mistakes or worrying about the future.  I forgot what it was like to float down the river on a sunny day, singing songs with friends or just being quiet and still and listening to the birds and bugs and watching the trees pass by.  It was easy to float with the current of the river, let go of all thoughts, and just be in the moment.

Inner peace often feels impossible while parenting or ministering to a child with multiple needs, especially a child who does not seem to go with the flow, who challenges us and constantly disrupts our ability to stay calm.  We allow their struggles to become rocks in the path of the river. Instead of being like the water flowing around these rocks, we are like the sticks and the flotsam that get stuck on the rocks till something dislodges us or the water gradually wears down resistance so we once again join the flow of the river, the spiritual flow of life. Can we be as the following Taoist proverb suggests?

The highest motive in life is to be like water. It fights nothing or no one. It flows from and back to its source and in the flowing smoothes and wears away all resistance.
Do we have the courage to be with our child and let go of all the pain, the worry, and the fear.  Can we have the courage to say to ourselves…………

Our child has autism – it just is.
Our child has to have another operation – it just is.
Our child is deeply depressed and cuts – it just is.
Our child cannot hear – it just is.
Our child cannot walk – it just is.
Our child struggles to read – it just is.
Our child rages and fights life – it just is.
Our child has Down syndrome – it just is.
Our child is addicted to alcohol or drugs – it just is.

This does not mean we give up.  This does not mean we stop guiding, helping, and finding services for our children.  It means we accept the flow of spirit in our life and stop trying to control the current.  We trust the Holy Spirit as it works through us. And when we surrender to the spiritual current within us, it all becomes easier; we gain that stately calm within, the pieces fall into place, the people we need to help our children appear, our children stop fighting us so much; we notice the blessings in our life.

Peace I ask of thee, oh river
Peace, peace, peace
When I learn to live serenely,
Cares will cease

May the following Gaelic blessing help you access deep peace.

Deep Peace
Deep peace of the running wave to you Deep peace of the flowing air to you Deep peace of the quiet earth to you Deep peace of the shining stars to you Deep peace of the gentle light to you Moon and stars pour their healing light on you

Categories Spiritual Parenting and Children | Tags: | Posted on July 10, 2006

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