There was a willow tree in the corner of the field. It is nearby the bank of a river. Beneath the willow I’d sat down, escaping from my routine life. The cold sand waiting for the warm sun rays, until they featured in the stipulated alignment of the earth and sun.
Serene beauty, with reflections of the blue sky above can be seen in the water. The trees nearby started to shed their leaves. However, these willow trees are filled with greenery still producing my required clean air. Their sweet yet small fruits are ripening.
In that calm and clean water, I could see fishes enjoying the water. From my bag, I took out my fishing hook. I used bamboo sticks as my fishing rod. Laid my bait as I lowered down the hook for the fish; when the fish pulled my stick I suddenly pulled it out. And there’s a fish swallowing the hook.
At last, the sand gets warm. The story book that I read gets more and more interesting. Yet there’s one problem I could hardly know all the word meanings. I’m just learning yet I felt contented. The place was like a safe haven for me.
Beneath the willow tree, I was as calm as I could. I wanted spend my time alone. I wanted to be in peace, at least for some moment. No living creatures are welcomed here. Except for those birds calling each other to share their foods I kept for them.
Sometimes, I would take a quick nap rejuvenating myself in the world of dreams. The sound of winds, coming from the leaves, could be mesmerizing. It was mixed with fragrance of nature. When it gets warm I’d hang my clothes in the branches of the willow tree.
In no time, I gathered my catches and few belongings and get up to resume my work. Time does fly when you are in peace. In those moments of hard work and worries, time seems to remain constant. The dazzling sun seems to dwindle; soon it will disappear behind the mountains.
I’d picked some of the mustard leaves to bring it home as I inspect every nook and corner of the farm. So that when I get home I could see appreciative faces. It is not an obligation but I wanted to contribute for our large family’s meal.
Once again, I glanced at the willow tree, which seems to be enjoying the evening breeze. When its small branches and trees moved, side to side, following the breeze; there is a sense of relief inside me. I took them as waving goodbye to me for the day.
Safe Haven No More:
Today, in the shade of my room, I revisited the place I once used as my safe haven, in my mind. It was not easy to experience that kind of serene environment. Things have changed, physically and mentally. The atmosphere has been filled with undesirable influxes.
The silence, or should I say semi-silence, are interrupted by the activities of people. Inside the room, there are no fish to catch. The occasional breeze hardly comes by. Even when it comes, it is the polluted city air which if possible, would be neglected without a single breathing.
Serenity exists only in a dream by now. Pain has eluded the calmness of life. There’s hardly any place that can be used as safe haven. Bad news and crime reports filled the morning newspapers. Once again I longed for that place; that calm place beneath the willow tree.
Living creatures, man and animals, around us intruded our privacy. There’s a need for conforming to the diktats of the law. As Jean Jacques Rousseau puts it, “man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains”. We are bounded by our worldly needs in the walk of life.
When you wanted to do something good there are people who’d take advantages of such moves. In our everyday life, we have been ambushed by many things that we need to settle score with, from time to time.
Just when I was about to close this chapter I heard a group of people shouting at each other. I looked out to check where it was heading; it seems to be one of those exaggerated negligible tiny issues again. By the way, shouting, making noise, and disturbing the peace of each other is an habitual practice of the residents, in the city where I lived.
Peace of Mind:
There are many interpretations on the kind of peace, which the prince of peace Jesus Christ had brought to this world. As it was proclaimed at the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, which we celebrated as Christmas: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
The first and foremost, the most important peace at the same time, was we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been justified by our faith in Him. (Romans 5:1) While this peace is meant for all people, it was only to those who accepted Him as their Savior. It brought peace of mind to those who are saved.
The kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is for us to pursue the things which would bring peace and edify one another in the light of the Lord. (Romans 14:17-18)
With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can be peaceful with one another. At the same time, it is important that we first have peace of mind inside us. However, the work of the evil afflicted us from losing this peace in our journey of life.
Now the peace of God will soon crush Satan underneath your (our) feet. (Romans 16:20) Our God is not the author of confusion but of peace. The time will soon come when peace from God will prevail throughout the universe and beyond.
There are times my mind wanted to rest as it did beneath the willow tree. Beneath the reign of God, we can have peace of mind. May the peace and grace of Lord Jesus Christ be with us! Amen.