Was there really such a thing as peace? I never felt it during my teenage years – as a matter of fact I really didn’t understand peace at all until I was in my 30’s.
In the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s when I was a teen, the hippie culture was definitely in. The motto was just to all get along and be at peace with each other. It was the generation where boys started growing their hair really long, and miniskirts and bellbottom jeans were the hot apparel on the market. So was booze, drugs and rock n’ roll.
And I was buying into all of it – as much as I could anyway.
My foray into drugs and drinking started slowly. But I soon discovered that getting high really helped me feel better about myself. It masked the hurt I felt about how I was allowing myself to be repeatedly used by other guys (Love – Why Can’t I Find It?). It deadened my senses and gave me a temporary euphoria about my otherwise unhappy life. It was easy to feel popular and part of an “in” group when everyone around you was laughing like a bunch of maniacs (unless they were puking from overindulgence). It gave me energy and a feeling that I could do anything!
In my high school years mescaline was the top choice for my friend and I for quite awhile. I used to sneak out of my bedroom window at night after mom went to bed, and my friend and I would go somewhere and hang out. Our favorite place for a long time was a particular park in downtown Bellevue. We used to meet a few people there, do our mescaline, and then go to a local Herfy’s where we would smoke cigarettes, eat hot fudge sundaes, and sit in a corner laughing hysterically at all sorts of silly stuff.
We were above it all – we were UNTOUCHABLE! Until the day we got picked up by the police. Then panic set in like I’d never imagined.
When we saw the blue lights of the police car flashing behind us, my friend and I managed to stuff the remaining drugs we still had with us down our jeans before we got loaded into the back of their cruiser. Why we weren’t taken to jail and searched still to this day astounds me; yet after the officers talked sternly with us for awhile about the bad path we were on, they let us go.
Our thought process after that? We were just so lucky! It didn’t take long for us to get right back in the swing of things – we just changed the location.
So continued my high school years. Many days instead of attending classes, I’d provide a handwritten note to the office from “mom” which had actually been signed by me. Then me and a group of potheads would sit in someone’s car in the parking lot and get high.
However if you’ve ever gone through what I’m talking about, you know that after awhile you needed higher doses of drugs – or more drinks – in order to obtain the same buzz. And I hated to get totally sober because then I began to feel like a loser again. Doing drugs and drinking gave me a type of peace that everything was okay – even though it wasn’t.
Even when I dropped out of school when I was 17 years-old (Kindness – Not Me) and got my first real job, once I got off work, drugs and drinking took over. Yet I was always ready to report to work the next morning – although sometimes having a hangover beyond belief.
By the time my husband Gary and I got married, I was pretty much off drugs, but still loved to drink. And back then, he was with me. We loved visiting our friends and attending parties. When I drank, I was transformed into a gal that was fun to be around. The sober Linda wasn’t like that. She just never seemed to have peace, even after getting married to a great guy.
The Bible tells us in John 14:27 that true peace is only available through Jesus, and that His peace can definitely rule in us (Colossians 3:15). No wonder I couldn’t find it back all those years ago. I had no idea Who Jesus really was!
A long time ago I wrote out a quote which says, “You cannot force peace, but you can know when it’s genuine.” Genuine peace truly escaped me for years and years – and I still find myself losing it at times! But now I know when that happens to run to my Jesus…
Next week I’ll talk about a season of my life when the presence of evil was very near. Was there a reason?