Submitted Date 04/04/2019

When was the last time you felt peace — true peace? Not just calm or relaxed, but entirely at peace? At peace with life, the universe, and your place within?


It proves fairly difficult to achieve this in our world today. How could we possibly find a moment of peace when we are constantly pressured to meet the social, economic, and physical demands of life? It doesn’t help that every time we look into the currents news we are met with a barrage of negativity and hate, making us question our trust in humanity and our future on this planet. In a world so chaotic and ugly, how are we supposed to feel peace?


Well, firstly, it’s important that we not focus on negativity. Yes, there is much to loathe about the world, but we can’t let that blind us to that which is wonderful in it. There is so much love, support, and joy to experience if we choose to search for it. But that is a topic for another date. Today, I would simply like to share a personal experience of when I was able to achieve entire, blissful peace — a night that truly changed my life, as simple as it was. Make of it what you will, but I hope you will be able to gather some inspiration from my story that has no underlying message otherwise.


I had no grand expectations for June 30, 2018. I understood that it would be an enjoyable little campout with my dad — one we did annually as a church event — but it would not be a particularly profound experience. The trip began per usual: a scenic drive through beautiful northern Utah while listening to rock and country classics by the likes of George Strait and Creedence Clearwater Revival, all while making light-hearted and superficial conversation. We arrived at the campsite in the late afternoon, set up our sleeping arrangements (my dad would sleep in his truck, I would be spending the night in a hammock), and ate our dinner. I learned shortly, however, that I learned one of my very good friends was also attending with a buddy of his, with whom I was acquainted but not close. This, of course, made me rather happy. Now, after the campfires had gone out and the adults to sleep, I would have some friends my age to hang out with.


What made this year so memorable, however, had nothing to do with my father nor the church event. It was at sundown that we had the idea of going down to the beachfront of the nearby lake and having a fire after everyone had gone to sleep. At the time it seemed like typical teenage shenanigans, but the evening played out to transcend that. It was somewhat difficult to begin the fire, there being limited wood and us being mindful of our surroundings, but we eventually created intense enough flames. And sitting beside that fire, under the majestic stars, the still, glass-like lake just feet ahead of us, and a consistently soothing breeze blowing, our adolescent amusement evolved into extensive deep, profound discussion about life and existence. I had never opened up on such levels before. To that point in my life, friendship had been about just having fun, going on wild adventures and making each other laugh, but now I was realizing that I can have much deeper relationships. Here was a boy I hardly knew and a friend with whom, despite our friendship of years, I had never actually had a deep conversation, sharing a special moment with me.


Then, inspired by such talk and desirous of a further feeling of connection to nature and the universe, we decided to go for a dip in the pristine lake so conveniently in front of us. We had not previously considered the possibility of this and did not bring towels nor extra clothes to the beach, but that issue was quickly resolved and we went for a swim. I had never skinny dipped in my life, and I was pretty reserved when it came to my body, but floating in that lake under a blanket of stars, nestled in a serene valley of star-lit mountains, was the most liberated I had ever felt. In that moment I felt the most profound connection to life and the universe that I had ever experienced; there was an overwhelming sense of connection to the supreme cosmic grandeur in which I was immersed, a sense of belonging and importance in a complex and chaotic world — that I was an added note to the harmony of existence.


We returned to the fire — which was now dying — cold and wet, yet none of us felt the slightest discomfort. The beach was by no means comfortable to sit back on, yet we relaxed and continued conversation. In this moment there were truly no worries, no pains, no negativity. In that moment there was peace of the purest form, serenity unmatched in my lifetime. None of us wished to leave. We had begun our fire at 10 o’clock in the evening. It was now 4 o’clock the following morning. We genuinely considered just falling asleep there in that perfect moment, but we then contemplated our parents’ reactions to us not being at camp in the morning and decided that it would be wisest to return to camp once the fire had died. We continued to sit, staring at the fire in silence for a period of which I’m not sure. We didn’t talk, but it wasn’t awkward; we just sat and experienced. Fire has always been mesmerizing to me.


When the fire burned out completely we conceded to the fact that the conclusion of that incredible night was upon us, and we packed up and began the trek back to camp, where I proceeded to have some of the best sleep of my life. From then on we have been great friends, going on to have many more adventures of similar nature, even returning to Pineview once for another beach fire and camping, but I think it implausible that this memorable night will soon be surpassed. Matched, surely, but not surpassed.


That is my story — a valued, personal experience. I hope it resonated with you, even if in the slightest bit.

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  • Tomas Chough 2 years, 6 months ago

    This is great. I've lived several similar moments and they always gave me peace too. Couldn't agree more. Hope you have many more experiences like this. Sometimes the simplest moments are the most important. Thanks for sharing Jared!

  • Kiersten Felch 2 years, 6 months ago

    Interesting moment. I've had one similar while camping as a teenager. The stars make all punishments seem inconsequential.

    • Jared Clawson 2 years, 6 months ago

      Definitely. I absolutely love the stars

  • David Ross Washington Jr 2 years, 6 months ago

    The crazy thing is, the time when I was at the most peace, was at camp. It was such a exhilarating experience. The guys there skinny dipped too, though I didn't participate in that part, but it was so fun being out away from humanity just being silly, talking, and having fun. So I can relate.

    • Jared Clawson 2 years, 6 months ago

      I was surprised that I participated in it. But it actually ended up being a huge boost in my confidence and ability to be free and not care what people think about me. A very liberating experience.

  • Miranda Fotia 2 years, 6 months ago

    I love moments of true connection like the one you described. I hate small talk and find most conversations with others unbearable, but every once in awhile, you find your people and deep and honest conversations happen that are so beautiful that they fill you with hope. Great piece! Thanks for sharing!