After J presents her group’s painted bridge model, constructed with toothpicks, popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners, and we watch a video of exuberant second grade dancing, Sici leads us to what she’s heard called the henna station. Two older girls sit earnestly with Crayola markers and a page of options. They can write peace, love, wisdom, strength across the forearm in Arabic.

J and Lala choose their pen color and words without difficulty. Lala love. J peace. They just seem to know. (Sici watches from the side because it’s not really henna as she’d hoped, but I’m fairly certain she’d be my wisdom girl.)

The woman behind us in line points to the sheet and tells her daughter, “Here’s love and peace. The word love is simple. Peace is complicated. Just like in real life.”

I see the words my girls have chosen to hold close, and oh how I yearn for peace and love written on all our days.

I appreciate the woman’s thought there in the school hallway, but I’m not convinced love is simpler than peace. Because, while I might be able to summon love, I sure can’t sustain it. I feel compelled by love to bake bread with my Lala and then feel the limitations of this love when she stirs the dry ingredient mixture right out of the bowl again, and when I have to arrange chairs on both sides of the kitchen so I won’t have to say “Out of the kitchen” to our dog for the 1,257th time, and he still finds a way through.

So many obstacles to loving well.

I want peace on this globe, in this home, in this heart, but can’t find my way to it somedays in rattling thoughts and pacing, clicking dog feet and fears of the future.

The path is hard to find.

I desire peace and love to soak in like markers through thin paper, leaving permanent stains on hearts beneath, and I know the only way for it to seep in is to keep living close. Drawn to the One who builds the bridge and writes our names across palms, in the book and through heaven’s holy realms.


Joining with Lisa-Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday with the prompt: CLOSE. I struggled to get this out today, friends, and took a good amount more than five. May you know peace and love written on your hearts this weekend, and may your feet walk out the path.


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