Building Bridges #2
“Be still, and know…”
I have been blessed to have seen some of the most stunningly beautiful vistas on earth: The Grand Canyon, The Red Rock area of Arizona, the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean Oceans from the tip of Cape Cod to St. Lucia, the Gulf of Mexico from Naples, FL all the way around to Pensacola and beyond to Galveston, TX, a great deal of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, The Great Lakes, and many, many others. Millions of us seek out these & numerous other sweeping vistas every year while on vacation. We search for peace and quiet, away from the innumerable distractions we so willingly invite into our lives on a daily basis.
I was suddenly moved to silence by the awe of the Grand Canyon, at the edge, staring a mile deep to the Colorado River below, 14 miles & a thousand feet up across to the northern rim. Later, hiking down an unmaintained trail 800 feet just below the rim, the silence stilled my spirit again as the noise of the crowd on the platform above me quickly disappeared into the immensity of the Canyon. Finally later, once again, at the end of an unmaintained trail sitting quietly on the edge of the abyss, far from the noisy crowds, the silence and grandeur of the Grand Canyon moved me to humble stillness.
In each of these moments, while savoring the peaceful hush, moved to silent prayer, reflection & thankfulness, the quiet reveries evaporated quickly. In seeking the quiet of Nature, the peacefulness around me was suddenly displaced, jarring my senses and spirit.
Whether the moments were broken by a cheerful ‘What are you doing?’, or a harried mother’s loud, scathing rebuke of ‘I’ve got a bad back, bad knees, am overweight & tired! You don’t hear me complaining do you?’ to her sunburned, twinkie-munching children as she marched angrily on the paved Canyon Rim Trail with her husband, I was, in turn, surprised, annoyed, amused, humbled, then finally inspired. I remain inspired.
In trying to get away from everything, everything still manages to find us. The simple act of being still, observing, looking, and above all, listening, quickly shifts our perspective. No matter where we may find ourselves, whether it’s at work, home, play, vacation, alone, in a crowd, perhaps alone in a crowd, or, in silence, in pain, in joy, in mourning, in celebration, or in a disagreement, we already have ‘the peace that passes understanding’ by knowing Love. All it takes is for us to be still.
In the midst of the chaos of life clamoring for our attention, everything from cell phones, children, customers, clients, the latest political/financial crises with ever-present televisions, to the boss’s insistent demands for the latest numbers, we have a choice: To Be Still. Be Still. Rest, breathing deeply, listen to that still small voice – telling us: ‘Be Still, and know...’ Puts a lot of things in perspective for us, doesn’t it?
Each day, for the next week, let’s challenge ourselves. Before we check our email, turn on the television, check the news, weather, facebook, twitter or text messages: Be Still. Be aware of how much time we spend in thoughtful, reflective study and contemplation. Think about love. Listen to and practice love. This can be done silently throughout each day as we live our lives. Watch for the difference it makes in our focus.
How much time will it take to be still and know? I don’t know – haven’t got a clue. It seems different every time. When we don’t take time, it manages to get our attention and finds the time for us. Do we really know love? Are we still? Do we feel its peace? It already knows us. Take the challenge for this week: Let’s find out!