I believe in serenity, in the need for a place of peace and tranquility.
I can remember when I was in the third grade; my teacher gave the assignment of writing a one page paper on what was our favorite place. I have always loved the country life. While I grew up in a small rural town, my family was financially stable, but not well off enough to purchase a farm. So my father took my sisters and me to one of his friend’s horse farm. I had a love for horses. For hours in the summer months, I walked the dusty dirt paths that the horses had made when their massive bodies traveled to and from the barn. Then as the winter snows covered the once vivid grass, I‘d spend time sitting in the manger, petting the majestic horses while they nibbled on hay. I loved this place so much.
As a child, I had a life of ease. My father worked to provide my family with more than the essential necessities, and my mother was always present to help guide me through life. Not until living through some tragic experiences, had I really seen the importance of serenity. On the day after Christmas, during my senior year of high school, I had received an incomprehensible, devastating phone call from my best friend. She explained to me how her mother had passed away just the day before. Her mother was happier and healthier than she had been for twenty years. She was on a journey to lose weight, and had successfully lost thirty pounds. It looked as if nothing was in her path of making her goal weight, but that was wrong. A brain aneurism had made her stop short.
As my conversation with my friend ended, thoughts ran through my mind: how should I comfort my friend, what should I say, and what should I do. To deal with these questions and the matters that accompanied this event, I ventured to the top of the hay loft in my family’s old wooden pegged barn. It was a serene place; the only evident noises were of my animals rustling their beds of straw. There was a comfort in the smell of the crisp winter air as it blew through the vacant slots of the wooden siding. Even in the midst of this catastrophic time, while in this place, I felt an impassiveness that I hadn’t experienced before.
Every time I ascended the sixteen foot rickety wooden ladder to the hay loft, I was able to cope with the immense burdens that escorted me through this time. I muddled through this part of my life by finding a place where I could be tranquil and peaceful. There is no doubt in my mind that without this place, I wouldn’t have gotten through this as well as I had. Therefore, this experience strengthened my belief that serenity is an imperishable extremity.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.