Finding Peace

It's been a rough couple of days lately... there's been a lot of unnecessary deaths. Lot's of shootings.
Clackamas Town Center.
Sandy Hook Elementary.
(Honestly, I'm aching all over just thinking about what I need to write down for today's post.)

One of the scary things about the Clackamas Town Shooting was that I was there only a couple days before it happened. My dad, brother, and I parked the car there and hopped on the TriMet to see the Killers in concert.
It makes me wonder how I would have reacted had the shooter appeared that day. How would I have responded if either my dad or brother had been wounded? Hopefully, I'd have the clarity to stay reasonably calm to locate the best exits and call the police.
It makes me think about the fear and panic those involved must have felt. And when I really think about it I just ache for all those people because it's in no way fair what happened.

I hate knowing that people are in pain and suffering. I honestly wish I could take it all away like John Coffey from The Green Mile. That was one of the hardest parts about living at Stanford's Children Hospital for a week, seeing all the little kids (ages younger than 6) who had cancer. Their life had just began and already they were in so much pain. When I went back to high school three weeks later I couldn't stand it because I'd hear kids complaining about really stupid things like not being able to drive their dad's fancy car or something else ridiculous like that.

Then Friday came around and right before my mom and I loaded into the car to drive up to Portland for my school orientation I heard that 26 people (6 adults and 20 children) were killed in a mass shooting. My mom kept bringing the event up while we were at the orientation and I had to ask her to stop talking about it while we were there because it just hurt to much and I needed to focus.
The next day, I watched it on the news and I started balling.
Another shooting. And babies involved this time too.
The shooter was 20. That's my age.
I've had a little bug for over a week now, but the aches and pains in my body for the past couple of days had nothing to do with being sick.

And ever since these shootings I've been really depressed and angry and, at the same time, very confused lately. (Warning: This is going to get into a touchy subject... as if it hasn't already.)
And I think most of this anger and confusion stems from what I've been hearing on the news and seeing posted on Facebook. There's a lot of "Thank God for the ones who were saved," "Thank God my child wasn't killed," or "Jesus is the answer!"
And I realize how awful this sounds, but hearing stuff like that makes me really pissed off because I think about those who were killed. Where was God for them at that moment? Why was person A spared while person B was brutally murdered?
I... I just don't get it.

All of this makes me think of a scene from the movie Rabbit Hole which stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. It's about a couple who have lost their young son (he was hit by a car) and how they deal with their grief. One night they are at a grief counseling group for parents who have lost their child and this one mother says: "God had to take her. He needed another angel."
Becca (Nicole Kidman): "Why didn't he just make one? Another angel? I mean, he's God, after all. Why didn't he just make another angel? Hm?"

It's not that I don't believe in God. I'm agnostic. I have faith and I have doubt and I am not ashamed of either one. I just have a lot of questions that I think sometimes people are too afraid to ask.

So, how do I find peace during these terribly rough days?
Well, this evening my mom and I were watching Eat, Pray, Love, which is also a fabulous book by the way, and I was thinking that I should write a blog post on my definition of meditation.
I've tried sitting on a pillow with my legs crossed and eyes closed and... yeah, well, that didn't really work out.
What helps me find peace is cleaning. That's right. Cleaning.
I feel at peace when I am organizing my workspace, cleaning the barn, doing laundry, vacuuming my room, tidying up my closet, or washing the dishes.
The act of cleaning helps me find peace because...

  1. My mind clicks onto silent mode since (unlike sitting on a pillow with my eyes shut, thinking about all the things I need to get done that day) I am already doing something productive. 
  2. I'm turning chaos into order. 
  3. Cleaning and organizing is simple. There's not much too it. 
  4. Outer order contributes to inner calm. (Learned that from Gretchen Rubin.) 
I think the main thing about cleaning is that it is something I have control of. The deaths of 26 kids in Connecticut and the 2 from Clackamas are something totally out of my control. I have this need to fix things, so cleaning aids my sense of peace. 

This was tough to write about today, but I'm glad I still did it. 

What brings you peace?

Blog to you later. 

When I'm feeling down I like to look at this link: 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity


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