by Kari Diane Pike
The tight grip of the blood pressure cuff released with a hiss, accompanied by the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard the nurse used to type the data into her computer. Two minutes to go until the next reading. I shifted under the hook-and-loop straps that crossed my chest, hips and ankles to prevent me from falling if I passed out during the test.
Nurse Rylee looked over her shoulder at me. "Are you doing okay? Let me know if you start to feel light-headed."
"I'm okay. Just tired of standing here." The thirty-minute standing part of the tilt table test was almost over. If I fainted, they would stop the test. If nothing happened, they would give me a dose of nitroglycerin and make me stand there another thirty minutes to see if they could recreate the syncope I had experienced at home a few weeks earlier.
Only thirty seconds to go...oh. Whoa. Heat spread out from the core of my body - as though someone had ignited a gas burner - through my limbs and up toward my face. "Ummm...something's happening. Oh, my head." My head felt like the hot air balloon I had once seen being prepared for take off. My peripheral vision started to go gray and then, just as quickly, someone turned off the switch. The heat drained from my face and limbs and my head felt heavy and dull, but I didn't pass out.
Rylee took my blood pressure and watched the activity on the EKG. "Well, your blood pressure definitely spiked there. But you stayed conscious. That's good. We just have to wait for the other nurse to come in before we start the next part of the test. So tell me. What do you do for a living?"
I shifted my weight from foot to foot trying to get the circulation back in my tired feet. "I have been a stay-at-home mom for thirty-eight years. Although I did do day care in my home for twenty-something of those years and have done of lot of free lance writing. I also teach childbirth ed and am a certified doula."
"Oh. That must be it." Rylee opened the privacy curtain to let the other nurse know we were waiting for her. "You just have something so calming about you and I've been trying to figure it out."
At that moment, the other nurse and a PA walked into the testing area and handed me a tiny white pill to place under my tongue, preventing me from further conversation with Rylee.
The rest of the test was unpleasant, but uneventful. During the drive home I told my husband about Rylee's comment and how I wanted talk with Rylee some more and tell her how I had prayed for peace of mind and how I knew that no matter what happened, or what the test results were, everything would turn out okay.
Later that afternoon, I sat down to study and prepare the following week's seminary lessons. We are getting ready to study Philippians 4 where I find great reassurance when I read verses 6-9, and 13.
Reading those verses again, I pondered on what it really means to have the "peace of God". I went on a scripture search. Isaiah 52:7 and Mosiah 15: 16-18 teach about how Christ redeemed us from our transgressions and our responsibility to publish peace. I asked myself and then in prayer asked Heavenly Father, "What does it mean to publish peace?"
Christ is the Prince of Peace. As part of the armor of God, we are admonished to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We are comforted and strengthened by "the peace and power of [His] Spirit that will flow unto [us]" (Doctrine and Covenants 11:8). The Lord is the founder of peace. He has power over death - both physical and spiritual. There is hope.
It was during this point in my study that I realized that what I really wanted/needed to know is what is peace? So I looked up peace in the dictionary. Then I looked up the root of the word "peace".
"Peace" has the Hebrew root [slm], which means to be "complete or whole" or to "live well". Deeper digging - root verb shalom meaning be be "complete, perfect and full". "Wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of discord."
Another source mentioned a word the Kekchi Indians of Guatemala have that comes close to the meaning of shalom that defines peace as "quiet goodness".
All of this pondering on peace teaches me that peace is active and vibrant. When we do as Paul taught and "in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God", He blesses us with the "peace of God which passeth all understanding" and guards our hearts and minds from needless fear and worry (Philippians 4:6-7), because we "can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]" (Philippians 4:13).
Elder Richard G. Scott taught, "As you exercise that agency and include [Father in Heaven] in every aspect of your daily life, your heart will begin to fill with peace, buoyant peace. That peace will focus an eternal light on your struggles. It will help you to manage those challenges from an eternal perspective" (Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority," Ensign, Nov. 2014, 93).
To publish peace is to testify of Christ, not just vocally, but in the way you live your life every day. Love, live and serve to the best of your ability the way Christ did, knowing that He loves each of us and that He is always with us. We can feel that inward peace, wholeness, and completeness that living after the manner of Christ brings, even during difficult challenges. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it will all work out. I hope and pray that Rylee finds the peace she is looking for.
Life is magnificent.