The Simplicity of Peace
“I have always been thankful for meeting the Young kids and for them inviting me into their home, where I met the family.
They were a family that had recently moved into town, but shared their love and welcomed their kids’ friends into their home…where all of us had a place where we felt safe, as well as getting to play games and just spending time being kids.
After graduating high school, I got depressed and felt a little lost. I was able to overcome that by working out with the dad, Chris. He was recovering from an accident and decided to start working out. He invited me to join him and that’s what ultimately gave me the motivation to keep going in life, knowing that everything will be okay.
Because that’s what I would feel every time I came over to the house, peace.
Peace because they made their house feel peaceful; dogs running around, (a blind one which was the most adorable) a pig, ducks, chickens, you name it. It’s a house full of love.
There was a time when they were housing a family who had a son I got to meet. Me and this kid was also going through hard stuff in life and reminded me of me.
I remember the Young’s family dog was having puppies, and him and I got to see and hold the puppies every time I would come over to work out, it was very special. I remember feeling so happy; and I know that wouldn’t have ever happened if I never met this amazing family.” -Antonio R.
Antonio is a dear friend of the family. He brought light and sunshine when he came. We found great joy in his sharp humor. None of us could get enough of his quick-witted roasting of Chris during those garage CrossFit days.
Without knowing what he would say, I asked Antonio to share, from his perspective, what it was like at the house back in the day. Those days at the house were hard for Chris and me, but for Antonio, they brought an opportunity.
I didn’t know what Antonio would say, so when he mentioned peace, it made me stop and consider why. This is also the most important characteristic we’ve identified at Vashti’s House that is needed for making a home: a place where healing and growth will just happen because it can.
The peace Antonio mentioned wasn’t because there wasn’t conflict in the home. In fact, Chris and I were going through another tough season. At the time, Chris was recovering from a firefighter injury that ended his career. We were dealing with personal and family health issues, and we were facing employment obstacles. We were processing fear, anxiety, grief and much more.
By the time Antonio showed up in our life, the ONLY thing that was different for us, if only a little, was that we had learned better strategies for managing our inner conflicts so it wasn’t spilling out of control onto the dogs and kids and others in the house as much as it had in the past.
Our strategy wasn’t complex or profound…we weren’t mentally savvy or emotionally empowered enough for that. The strategy was simply…let it be.
The way we accepted Antonio, and others into our home and family was come as you are, if you don’t mind us doing the same. We were all a mess. And human. And complicated. Together.
The peace Antonio felt was not a result of careful planning from Chris and me, or as a result of our virtue and strength of character.
No, the opposite was true. We had already put in our time fighting our desire to prove points, versus our need to surrender, and we had surrendered. The peace in our home was the natural result of Chris and I just letting ourselves be as we were. Surrendering to the long process of growth and maturity.
The people and the animals at the house were there because we enjoyed them. Antonio and the ducks and dogs and the family living with us brought us joy, so we just let them occupy space with us.
Don’t get me wrong. There were times when Chris and I had to be assertive and even aggressive in protecting the standards that made our home safe, but that never deterred people from coming. The opportunity to not be ok together held the bigger pull.
The years of our house being filled with people proved what science has purported to be true: that people are tribal, and we thrive better in community. We experienced that the best way to promote peace is to be honest about where you are, let others do the same with you, and just be together. Have fun together. Be broken together, and enjoy the best parts of each other…without an agenda.
I’m sending you peace from Vashti’s House. May you find peace in surrendering to the necessary path for your individual health and wholeness.
And in the wise words of the Beatles; Let it be, there will be an answer, let it be.
Me and Antonio at a CrossFit competition in Portland. We moved the fun away from the house.