It Is Peace | Teen Ink

It Is Peace

May 7, 2019
By catmcclure BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
catmcclure BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Peacefulness is defined as tranquility and freedom from the distractions of the world, a sense of calmness to our hearts and souls. Along with the other gifts like love, joy, gentleness, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, peace is truly a virtue because it is the Fruit of the Spirit that helps us to move through our sufferings through reliance on God’s providence. Peace is not just finding harmony in difficult situations, but it is also a graceful outlook on hard times, discovering an understanding of why we suffer and accepting it. It is bringing light to the horrible aspects of life and becoming comfortable through the acceptance of reality.

I will never forget the day that my aunt passed away, January 3rd of 2018. I was with a few of my close friends at Morning Call, enjoying my beignets, when my sister called me. Before I even heard her speak I knew something was wrong. I do not know how, but I knew. When she told me that my aunt, Kelley, had died just that morning, of course, I had many questions; my head was spinning with overpowering thoughts. Her death came as a shock to my entire family. She was perfectly healthy. We had celebrated Christmas happily with her just a week before. My first instinct as the news was revealed to me was to think that it could not be true, that there must have been some mistake. Everyone had the flu for New Years of 2018, but who would have thought someone would lose their life because of it? And why my Kelley? Caroline, my sister who was on the phone with me at the time, told me that no one knows what happened to Kelley. All we knew was that she had the flu and it took her away. That day was the first and only time my guy friends had ever seen me cry. My mom called me after I ended the call with Caroline, and she told me I did not have to leave my friends. We had plans to go to the art museum because we had the free pass from the summer and then go back to my friend Griffin’s house. I simply would not be able to get through these plans. The thirty minutes that I spent waiting for my brother, Christian, to pick me up was the longest thirty minutes of my life. I just stayed quiet, waiting patiently to get back to my family. Christian and I barely spoke on the ride home.

Aunt Kelley had beat breast cancer several years before her death and had also struggled with intense back pains for most of her life. What was most shocking to me was that, if she could remain strong during all those difficulties, why did something as simple as the flu take her? I still do not know the answer to that question. However, the gift of peace is what helps me to move forward from the questions of life that usually go unanswered.

I believe it is the Fruits of the Spirit that give us the power to help ourselves and others. God blessed us with these fruits to show us how He is within all of us, and he will forever and always provide for His children. When I am sitting on a beach looking at the water, thinking of her, it is peace that gives me the sense of calmness I need. Though in that moment I may be brought to tears, I know that she is with me, and I feel so much tranquility in that. When I see how my family has come together and grown closer through our grief, it is peace that overpowers my sorrows. When I look at my father, who was Kelley’s brother, and I see how he giving his all to be the stability for my family in this difficult time, it is peace. It is the gentleness that comes with peace that allows me to look on the bright side of these hardships, and to be gracious through it all.

My dad struggles from some similar back pains to what Kelley suffered through. Though hers were more severe, back pains were always something that ran on their side of the family. These problems sometimes resulted in Kelley not attending our annual all-girls sleepover with me, my sisters, my cousin, and my other aunt. However, she would always go out of her way to try and make plans with us. One night the entire family, including all my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins on my dad’s side set up camps outside of her house and we spent a night out with a campfire. I truly believe that Kelley was the most gracious and loving person I have ever met, who embodied all of the Fruits of the Spirit just in the tip of her finger. She never had any children of her own. She loved her nieces and nephews like they were her own children. I believe that is why she sacrificed so much for us all the time.

Kelley used to always go all out for Christmas gifts. When she was struggling with money, she still would make sure she was not slacking for Christmas. She would get so nervous about what to get us, and we would always tell her we do not need anything. We meant it, but she did not listen. She started giving us cute jewelry that she would make herself; she was so talented at that. If she did not have time to make us jewelry, or she thought she did not give enough, she would give us her own jewelry. I still wear the Mignon Faget shell ring that Kelley gave me one Christmas. The ring was hers, but she gave it to me so she could be sure that she “gave enough.” I do not think I knew she was doing that at the time. One night after her death, I was helping my family wash the dishes, and I placed the ring on the side of the sink. My family decided to go get ice cream that night, and I left the ring there to stay until I got back. When I got back it was missing and everything in me shook. I was going crazy trying to find that ring, crying, frantically looking throughout the house. I went to sleep with no luck. When I got home from school I had asked my mom if she saw it and she replied that she did. She told me my dad woke up uncomfortably in the night because he felt something poking at his back, and there it was. Poking his back.

I had not gone in my parent's room that night that I lost the ring. Kelley was simply reminding my family “I’m here.” I know she is with me, and that is peace.

The author's comments:

This is a personal narrative essay based on a time in my life where I believe I embodied one of the nine Fruits of the Spirit.

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