The Peace of God -- By Elizabeth Price

“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

I dreamed it was the day of resurrection.

My Mother and Father came up from the grave as I had known them but with a spirit of youthfulness and anticipation. They looked about them for their own eldest son who was buried at sea when he was a young man, leaving them broken. Their hearts lifted as he came striding across the land, arms outstretched to them.

His younger brothers rose, reborn, with their wives and children to embrace as a family and my heart swelled with Amen as I watched reunion after reunion. My joy was complete in theirs.

My son and daughters ran to meet their grandparents, their uncles and aunts and cousins and again, my joy was complete in theirs.

I saw my husband surrounded by the friends of his society, shaking hands, laughing, welcoming each other in a flurry of enjoyment.

My tears of fulfilment poured out a baptism of gratitude, swelling to a lifting flood that melded them into a total. Pain was swept away, years of separation we re-woven and they all rose together as the light of the world heavenbound.

And for the first time, I noticed that I was alone. I seemed to have spent my life alone, it was natural in fulfilling the essentials of others and I had never noticed it before.

But now I was alone in a colourless landscape from which all life had gone. I turned towards the horizon, silhouetted in black, silent in its emptiness and I walked into its solitude. I reached out for nothingness to cover my own nothingness.

Without warning, a large boulder dislodged and rolled down the hillside, passing me as its crashing reverberations rolled from horizon to horizon. It stopped and there was a stillness, a silence, absorbed in a landscape drained of all colour.

I looked towards the indent where for centuries the boulder had dwelt and as I drew near its emptiness, I saw a man kneeling over a bowl of water.

He spoke no word but clearly, like an echo from my childhood, I heard, “Let me wash your feet so that you can walk with me.”

I stepped into the water willing it to cover my body, my arms, my face, to bear me away to nothingness but it rushed over my feet, cooling, cleansing, renewing. He took the towel from his waist and it became a soft, white cloud, swirling around us, lifting us and carrying us to join the crowd already assembled.

And I was complete in him with a peace that passed all understanding.

Elizabeth Price