Introspections & Retrospections

The Trouble With Peace

I stared at the ceiling. I like looking at the little holes— a corkboard sky of inverted starlights, office dust for phosphenes; and on rare occasions, wayward ceiling debris fall like shooting stars.

But what I really like about staring at the ceiling is how everyone becomes a bit more hesitant to approach me. This illusion of thinking, of introspection, of go-away-I-need-some-space not-so-universal gesture we make when we tilt our heads up and get lost, making them wonder what on Earth are we looking at up there. Or maybe not.

Clickety-clackety-cluck, goes the dulled rhythm of several keyboards being tapped, dissonant melodies of a clockwork office routine. Sometimes, an officemate murmurs to someone else; at times, they talk loudly. Too loudly. Cubicle discussions turning into impromptu conferences; but on good days, it does turn into a welcome flash mob of gags and jokes and random angst-turned-into-humor sessions.

On bad days, there’s just silence. No, not peace; just impassive, stoic silence.

I guess there are just different ways we perceive this idea called peace. But there are so many ways, as well, that we all agree on about peace— sometimes, on an intellectual or philosophical sense; at times, on a subconscious level, or what we may understand as souls connecting.

Peace, when the arguments have ceased to overwhelm what we agree on. But can it truly be peace when we simply silence our lips— even as the words rage on inside of us? Volatile thoughts that we try to control, poisoning us, turning us into emotional time-bombs trapped within a serene mask?

Peace, when hostility no longer hold sway over our shared happiness; when the last fist becomes unclenched. But is it truly peace— when the impulse to hurt, retaliate, has never left at all? Quiet violence eating us away in the guise of cordiality, like sediments on a sea of civility; waiting, ever patiently, bidding for its own time?

It would be easy to scoff these off, yet how much of our lives are truly lived in peace? We have always thrived in conflict, lusted for it. From the dramas and the romances, to the action and tragedies, in the comedies or even the mundane documentaries— we longed for it: pitting one person or thought to another, greedily wondering not who is right but who would win. Let’s face it: peace can be boring, and almost everyone hates being bored.

It’s only when we get tired, of it all, that we suddenly long for peace. But only our shallow, temporary appreciation of it: the lack of noise in all forms of sense; the loss of reason, of will, to fight. A mere respite, if only so we can have enough strength again for the next battle. Only a pitstop, a place to stay for the night; never truly a home— if all homes were even truly peaceful.

But that, I guess, is the curious thing about peace. It can be there, beneath the roiling waters of our turbulent lives— shaken, but unmoved.

Peace, that anchors our hope. For do we experience peace in our souls because of hope, or do we hope because we have found peace?

Peace, that empowers our faith. For when even our beliefs and principles are in disorder, does peace disappear? Or do we find resolution and make our stand after we have found peace?

Peace, that nurtures our love. For even when our heart feels too heavy, when our various loves clamor against each other for superiority, is it not peace that quells them, that soothes the shouting spree inside our minds with whispers of its own? Peace, that is not the quietness of the void of one’s soul; but peace, overflowing, that dampens fires, breaks the storms, hushes the cries of the brokenhearted. Peace, that calmness of undaunted empathy— reminding us that love is not always about explosive passion, but often if not always a soft, steady rhythm: like a heartbeat, like the rain, like the echoes of footsteps of people walking together. Peace that creates a harmony among the dissonant voices of this world into a song that we all can sing along to.

I stare at the skies. I like looking at the little stars— a boundless palette of cosmic matter, while teardrops join the morning dew; and on most occasions, a peaceful thought weaves through the murky memories.

And what I really like about staring at the skies is how I become more aware of how much I long for that peace. This allusion of thinking, of introspection, of God-why-am-I-still-here-when-I-should-be-there-among-the-stars universal wistfulness we feel when we tilt our heads up and get lost, making us wonder what on Earth are we doing down here with our petty quarrels and petty silence. Or maybe not.

On good days, there’s always this passive silence. But right now, even as I am in chaos, I am and will be at peace.


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