“Finding Peace,” March 14, 2023

This column is from 2018.

If you have traveled for long on this rocky road called life, you might’ve noticed that it is a beautiful and baffling blend of conflict and peace.

It’s not just one or the other. It’s both. To experience both conflict and peace, and embrace them as gracefully and honestly as we can, is what it means, I believe, to be truly alive.

Some 30 years ago, I was a feature writer for a newspaper when my editor called me into his office and said he wanted me to start writing a column.

“About what?” I asked.

“Think about it,” he said.

So I thought about it all evening while keeping score for my son’s baseball game.

There were many fine columnists writing about all sorts of things. What could I possibly have to say that wasn’t already being said by someone who was smarter and far better at it than I would ever be?

The answer to that question would change not only my job, but my life. It came to me at the end of the game when I heard the coach tell his young team (who had lost another “close one”) not what they did wrong, but what they did right:

“You guys gave it your best today,” he said. “I was proud of you, and you should be proud, too. See you at practice tomorrow!”

It occurred to me that most newspaper columns, not all, but many, focus on conflict — on the countless things we get wrong in this world and the ways that we might make them right.

That is as it should be. Someone needs to write about conflict, clearly and honestly and compellingly, to help us understand and resolve it. But that was being done, and done well, I thought, both then and now.

So I decided instead to write about peace. About ordinary, everyday matters of the heart. Things most of us can agree on, rather than argue about. Things that tell us who we are and how we are alike. That bring us together rather than drive us apart.

I’ve never done it half as well as I wish I could. But in every column I’ve ever written, I’ve tried in some way to say this: We are all in this life together. We need to care for each other, rely on each other, and put up with each other as best we can. It’s a matter of faith and humanity, practicality and survival.

In my personal life, I don’t ignore conflict. It refuses to be ignored. Somedays, perhaps like you, I feel as if I’ve reached my limit. When that happens, I turn my face to the sun, listen for the laughter of those I love, take a deep breath, and begin again.

We never need to search for conflict. It will always find us. But to understand and resolve it, we need to begin by finding peace within ourselves and offering it to those around us.

How do we do that? I don’t know what brings you peace. I usually begin by reminding myself (yes, once again) that I am not in charge of the world. There are some things I can do (pray, mostly) and a lot of things that I can’t. Either way, life goes on with or without me.

How do we find peace for ourselves and, in turn, offer it to one another and to the world? Sometimes I think it helps to practice some of the things we were taught as children:

_ Stop shouting and say clearly how you feel.
_ Stop name calling and speak your mind with respect.
_ Use your words, not your fists.
_ Ask questions. Don’t interrupt. Listen to the answers.
_ Seek first to understand before trying to make yourself understood.
_ Be polite, but persistent. Never give up, or give in to injustice. Speak the Truth for others who can’t speak for themselves.
_ Do your best everyday in the game of life. Be proud of your efforts and those of your teammates. And always show up for practice.

More than just an end to conflict, peace is an act of forgiveness for ourselves and for others. It’s a gift we are given, free and clear, every time we give it away. May we all find it together.


  1. Lynn Weiss says

    As always, Sharon, you warm my heart and give me hope. It is, indeed, the small, everyday things that make life worth living. Thank you for reaffirming my belief in this.

  2. Patricia Shaffer says

    Thank you for running this column again Sharon! It was just what I needed today… How did you know that?🤷‍♀️. So happy that you are repeating some of these columns that I must’ve missed the first time around but needed this time around. sending love to you and yours. ❤️

  3. Linda Deiber says

    I always have peace in my life although it took me many years to get to this point. I realized that through all my trials and tribulations I was not in control at all that I would have saved myself so much worry if I’d realized that is God that is in control of my life and always has been. When I look back over my 75 years I see all the time He has gotten me through so much and knows what is going to happen in my life and I have nothing to worry about He will be with me. Also I have been forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice. If we all only would realize this when we are so much younger.

    • Karen Babb says

      So very true Linda! One thing I have learned in my 70 years is, whenever I find myself in a hard or sad place, I think back to when I’ve been there before, and I remember who pulled me up and how they helped me out and I turn to my God again once more. It works every time!

  4. CHope Hall says

    I always look forward to your words of wisdom. Thank you so very much for your dedication. Through time they have helped me so much. Take care & please keep sharing.

  5. Katie Musgrave says

    Yes, choose love and show up! I am proud of you, Sharon! ❤️

  6. Sandy Jensen says

    I can always count on you to say just what I need to hear at just the right time. You make me happy… when skies are grey!☀

  7. Dick Daniel says

    Thank you for making that decision so long ago. You have enriched countless lives because of it.

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