State of Peace

As I pulled into the left-turn lane, I noticed the license plate on the car in front of me wasn’t the ubiquitous Illinois or Missouri plate. Across the top it read, “The Peace State.”

Intriguing, I thought. Where is this place that calls itself “The Peace State”?

This seemed bold on the part of “The Peace State.” I wondered about the state’s crime rate compared to, say, “The Show Me State” or “The Prairie State.” I need evidence of peace. Where is this mythical land, anyway?

Before the light turned green, I made a mental note to move to “The Peace State,” wherever it might be.

See, summer break has gone on long enough. Rage simmers just beneath the surface of my daily interactions. I wear a tight-lipped smile to hide my gritting teeth. We’ve had a lot of fun, but it has reached its natural limit. We need routine and structure, the kind imposed by the local school district.

This introvert has had enough of summer-break parenting.

Everything irritates. My daughter repeats lines from Odd Squad: The Movie on a continuous loop (“Dave. Dave. Dave. Dave Dave Dave.” Etc.) “Look!” she says. “Look, Mom!” she says four seconds later. “Look!” she says again, before reading me the riddle from her popsicle stick. It’s not her fault the riddles are not funny.

Meanwhile, a single line of a Christmas song winds around my brain: “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again. Doot dee doot dee doot dee doot a doot a doot a doot.”

In short, I could use a quick trip to “The Peace State.”

As the car pulls ahead, I snap out of my reverie when I notice it says, “The Peach State” — the “h” covered by the plastic license plate frame. It’s Georgia, U. S. of A., not some magical land of peace. I crack up at my mistake (as insane moms at summer’s end are wont to do).

It’s a lot easier to achieve a state of peach than a state of peace.

These hot summer days, my husband often brings home a basket of peaches from Eckert’s. I slice them into cold slivers or bake them in a cobbler or just bite into one like an apple. Easy. Much easier than not yelling at the people I love. Much easier than peacekeeping. Way easier than peacemaking.

“The Peach State” is lovely, but I need to remember the peace state is within reach, close as a whispered prayer.

A new refrain now echoes in my brain:

Let there be peaches on earth,

but let peace begin with me.


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” –Jesus (John 14:27)