Jane pressed her palms together and held them there. She wanted to clap, to join in the applause John most definitely deserved; however, she did not want to be the first to shatter the serenity.
Retracing the path of John’s presentation she tried to get her hands around what she was feeling. John’s stories were mostly about fights. His conflict with his mother over his choice of wife. His argument with his wife about choosing their home. His battles with his son over not beating up his classmates. Jane had laughed along with everyone else at John’s delightful self-deprecation. Yet, Jane was feeling more than mirthful.
John’s tone, and the tenor of the audience, shifted when he shared how a fight with his foreman had put the final nail in his construction career. Sudden unemployment shook his family, and his sense of self. Jane eyes weren’t the only ones that moistened at hearing how John had to beat down his pride
to ask his mother to allow his family to move into her home. Yet, Jane did not feel pity.
What was the quote John had started and ended with? Jane opened her hands to see her notes. “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s Something you make, Something you do, Something you are, and Something you give away.” Jane had no idea who Robert Fulghum was, though she now realized she was feeling peaceful.
John, without ever saying so, had showed us how he had made peace with his past and with himself, publicly. John stopped fighting himself and he became peaceful. His feelings, not his words, produced this peaceful place. Opening the heart wide enough to welcome us all in, you find a space between what happens and your reactions. Peace lives here.
Jane began softly padding her hands together as others joined in applauding John’s piece.