On circling helicopters, broken hearts, and peace-breathing.

img_2667I’m listening right now to police and news choppers hovering overhead. The sound is relentless. Ominous. Heavy with heartbreak. Distinct with the rumble of grief. Apparently there was a suicide this morning at the high school near my home. A student. At 7:48 AM.

And I just want to cry.

For this student.

For those who loved her.

And for all of us.


Today I was planning to write about peace. The importance of it. Experiencing that beauty. Choosing to search for it. Grabbing hold with both fists. Breathing it in. A long, slow, deep inhale. To help calm ourselves down.

To help calm this world down.

So here I sit on my back porch – thoughts gathered, laptop ready – an amazing Florida breeze setting my windchimes tinkling, their sweet sound permeating the merciless thumping of the helicopters above.

But now I just don’t know what to say. The persistence of those helicopters seems to be muting out all the words my mind had been collecting this morning. Right now only one sentence comes to mind:

I think we’re failing, my friends.

I stare at my St. Francis statue in the corner of my garden. He was a gift from a dear friend many years ago and he’s followed me around the country, spending time in each of my gardens. For many reasons, he’s always been a favorite of mine.


But it’s St. Francis’ message of peace … that prayer he’s most famous for … the one I have hanging over my kitchen sink … that speaks to me at this moment:


As a nurse, a human being, and a follower of Jesus – this message compels me to live outside myself.

Especially this morning.

Because of those helicopters circling.

And my heart breaking for that student.

Her family.

Our family has experienced this same pain.

We know it all too well.

My brother-in-law.

Just last summer.

This makes me want to reach out.

To everybody.


To understand.

Make connections.

See what others see.

To appreciate how others see.

The different ways we think.

To love deeply.



To offer hope.

To calm.


Exude peace.

That’s what I want to do.


But the words of this prayer also remind me how quickly I grow weary.

How often I fall short.

How my heart just shuts down.

And hardens.

My mind forgets.

Suddenly it’s all about me.


But yet it’s not.

It’s really not about me at all.

It never is.

It’s all Him.

Always Him.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”…

Let me sow love … pardon … union … faith … hope … light … joy … ”

“O, Divine Master, grant that I may … console … understand … love … give … pardon … live”.

See what I mean?

All of the good we want to do … it all comes from God.

And this is where we’re failing, my friends.

It’s not that we’re not trying. It’s simply that we’re trying to live this life without Him – in our own power. And we’re failing.

Yes, we can do good in this world as human beings. And we should.

But when we do this, we’re actually being the hands and feet of the One who truly has the power to make things good. He’s the one who can change hearts and fill us to overflowing with true, unshakeable faith.

We can’t do any of that. We just don’t have the capacity for it. God is the true, inexhaustible source of all the good we really, really want to do or see or experience in this world.

So how we stop failing is to start remembering this.

We cannot truly change the hurt in this world without God. I believe it’s our job as humans to do what we can, but it’s only through his power, love, and mercy that any changes will ever happen.

That’s how pain is healed, lives are changed, and how faith itself is grown. And inside all of that … there lies all that peace we’re all running around suffocating for. Now we just have to grab hold of it by the double fistful and breathe it in. A long, slow, deep inhale. Then say a whole lot of prayers … reach out … and just comfort each other.

Thanks for growing with me. ❤

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)



2 thoughts on “On circling helicopters, broken hearts, and peace-breathing.

  1. Amen Debbie. Healing starts in Spirit. And somewhere that certain willingness for God to breathe there. The breath of God speaks, “Peace, i am with you.” Thankyou Deb, as always!


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