Saint Terese of Liseaux wrote:
“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
I love this, but it does seem to gloss over a few things.
It’s easy to find “peace within” when your life is calm, but not when it is in chaos.
It’s easy to “trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be” when you’re in a place you enjoy, but not when the foundation of your life feels as if it’s crumbling under your feet.
And, being “content with yourself just the way you are” seems to be a constant challenge for many women.
Then there is her last sentence: “It is there for each and every one of us.” I want so badly for this to be true, but many women, especially during divorce, have forgotten how to access these lovely concepts. Some fiercely doubt them altogether and others feel sorrow that they’re so out of reach.
It would have been helpful if St. Terese had given us directions to these places of peace, trust and contentment. She could have left a treasure map with an X marks the spot or directions for “easy assembly” like those that come with small pieces of furniture that have to be put together.
But, X does not always mark the spot and assembly directions always leave you with extra pieces, so you worry that what you’ve put together will not hold.
I believe she did not give us directions, because we are each on our own journey. There are times we will take a step forward and times we will be still. In times of stillness we will recognize that peace, trust and contentment have been with us always, unseen or forgotten in the challenges and chaos of our lives.
It turns out Saint Terese did not gloss over anything. She left a beautiful reminder of the treasures we have within us, none of which need any assembly.