I take a deep breath and slowly ever so slowly let it go. I feel it seeping into my flailing limbs coursing through my doing bubbling through my brain. It is content to distribute itself as it pleases to go where it wants at its own pace. No anxious breath has this capacity. No! that breath screams to be released. Forces its way out. Gasps for more. This breath is not that breath. This breath is patient, satisfied dignified content with its status. This breath makes no demands except, as it were, when it has run its course, and has supplied my need. And now I need another. This deep breath exits slowly without fanfare making way for the next. I do not thank this breath do not consider its significance its magnificence its wonder. I simply take another and another as if I was made for this and it for me As if it would go on forever as if I would. Grate.....full.....
Stillness is a shock to the system.
The screeching of tires, the squealing of wheels, the swerving and maneuvering to get out of the way. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, it takes a bit of righting to find balance. Turns out, forward momentum can keep you upright through pretty much any squall, but stillness…now THAT requires full attention.
Nothing propels you forward but your determination.
Nothing holds you back but your inertia.
Nothing prevents you falling, but your course corrections. Be aware of your surroundings. Be sure of your footing. Have your compass handy.
Nothing moves you forward but your own efforts.
Stillness is a sock in the gut and a kick in the pants. It’s not the friendly place you once knew, it’s the firm place you now need.
It’s amazing what stillness brings into focus.
On my drive to church I pass a lovely small man-made lake. It offers a focal point for the backyard of just a few homes. There is a dock, perhaps 15 feet long, that juts out from the far shore. I couldn’t quite reach it with a thrown stone, but almost.
Quite early on “spring ahead” morning, several weeks ago, I drove past this lake. The sun was rising in its face; it was stilled in its place as if it dare not move. The reflection of the trees and the dock and the houses was perfection. One almost could wonder which was real and which was the imitation.
Since that morning I have driven past the lake many times hoping for the return of that scene, the stillness a perfect reflector of the wonder before me, the calm X 2, heaven and earth come together in one place. A repeat performance if you will. But to no avail. If there’s a hint of wind or a paddling duck, or if it’s overcast or rainy, or if there’s snow…no stillness. No reflection. No photo op.
Today, I leave for church figuring the view will be perfect. Not a puff of breeze, and the sun is just rising, proclaiming itself through the trees. I even ready the camera on my phone so I can stop and snap to savor the moment. Looking ahead I can tell I am near. I check the oncoming traffic and cars behind so my slowing will not anger fellow drivers. All clear, I maneuver around the pot hole and pull beside the lake to look. There, in greens, browns and grays, the surface is entirely engulfed by waves, almost white caps. Not a meter of it is still.
How telling, really, of the week it has been. The turmoil, the unrest, the hardship, the pain. Why did I ever expect stillness? On this morning even the giant heavenly hand which holds back the wind doesn’t prevent the earth itself from shaking and jostling the waves.
I feel badly for that little lake. How hard must it be for those waves to be still, so perfectly still that they offer an uninterrupted reflection?
Suddenly it strikes me how real, how personal, this feels. Do they, like me, find it difficult to be still? I remember again that “spring ahead” sunrise morning and wonder at it. How hard those waters must have been working to be so still? If they can do it, can I?
They have challenged me. Can I be so perfectly still that I disappear? The only evidence of me, a glassy reflection from earth toward heaven and back again.
What power that would take. What utter control. Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee with but a wave of his hand. Me? I’ve got some work to do. Probably best just to start with one wave. On a very small lake. Perhaps a wave at my dinner table or one in my neighborhood.