February 27, 2011 by Ellen V
On my desk at work, there is a very small and simple plaque that states, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” It was given to me by the wife of the man who had formerly held my position, a man whose death was still fresh. I’m grateful for this small token and everything it carries with it.
I am not a naturally peaceful person. In fact, in Papa K’s words, I’m a worry wart. I enjoy busy-ness. I pack my days full. I like to feel useful. I am a Type A list-maker. All these things make me organized, efficient, and productive. They do not make me peaceful.
Of course, this restlessness impacts my home very much. Often, Eric catches the brunt of my burden, as I am either 1) never around or 2) exhausted or 3) crabby from all the craziness that I have created.
St. Francis of a Assisi prays to be made an instrument of peace. He prays not to be peaceful or for peace itself but to be the thing that creates peace.
Most people imagine St. Francis as a cuddly, nature-lover or a granola-loving health nut. They are not to blame–after all, St. Francis is generally depicted walking around with some tiny little bird in his hand or handsome dog at his feet and a cute little grin on his shining face. But St. Francis was nuts, in the way only the best saints are! He was crazy and counter-cultural and insisted that if we could only really see and experience the beauty and the majesty of the world, God would be so real to us no one could question His existence. He fasted and wore a hair shirt and he was seriously nuts. And St. Francis knew that busy-ness for its own sake was not the answer to a life of grace and fulfillment.
In the spirit of St. Francis, I strive to work not for calmness but for clarity. I work not for quiet but for joyful noise. I work not for a day on the couch but for a day to do the very most important things of all.
So you can see what it is that is on my mind today. Now if only I can remember all this come Monday…