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One year ago, I opened my eyes from a hospital bed. The lights were off, the curtains drawn, and foggy thoughts crowded my mind. Is it over?

"What time is it?" I croaked to the darkness, my voice raspy from the intubation. "What time?"

Early afternoon would be good. It would mean the surgery went well and that they hadn't found any tumors. It would mean a tiny scar and a quick recovery.

But if it the sun had gone down, it would mean that they had "opened me up." It would mean missing organs. It would mean cancer.

So I asked again, more urgently. "Please. What time is it?"


Weeks before, just as I was noticing a "wrongness" in my body, I was also preparing for Advent. I wanted to write a poem for each week of the season but it's a tricky business.

There was a verse in Jeremiah that complicates things. In it, God has some hard words for those who "treat my people’s brokenness superficially, claiming, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."

How could I write about peace in a world of cancer and surgeries? How could I write about peace when my hair was still wet with the frightened tears of my son? How could I write about peace in the shadow of the suffering in the world? I was resolved - I did not want to treat the wounds of His people lightly. And yet I fiercely believe in the peace that passes all understanding.

I felt no peace about writing about peace. Until...

"Peace be with you" He whispered, right to me.

I grinned despite myself, remembering. He always enters like that. In stormy seas. In locked rooms. In birth announcements. It seems like every time He shows up, the first word out of His mouth is "Peace."

That resonates in me. There is nothing superficial about the way He wears my wounds. There is nothing trite when He speaks peace from bloodied lips.

Peace is a God who enters into my broken, post-op skin. Peace is a God who rocks my frightened boy to sleep. Peace is God Incarnate.

And that's something to write about.

"Peace Be With You"

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