22 July, 2016

The Still


She had just finished a two mile walk in the hot, steamy Southern morning.  It was a morning that the deep South often experiences where no wind blows and the air feels thick with moisture.  As I watched from behind windows clouded with moisture from the air-conditioned comfort, I saw the woman standing very still on the patio, her back to my view.  She stood stock-still as sweat flowed from her.  She made no move to wipe the rivulets falling.  She simply stood.  What is she doing, I wondered?  Why would she not come into the cool air-conditioned home and take refuge and drink deeply?  It was then I noticed her earbuds were still in place.  She was listening.  Oh, now I understood, she is listening to the end of a podcast or the end of a song.  I felt a little uncomfortable staring out at this woman but found myself unable to pull away.  More minutes passed...more standing.  I begin to hear her....is she singing?  Who stands in a wide-open space in 95 degree heat and sings while dripping sweat?  She sings, her hands reach out at her sides.  Still she stands.  A few moments pass and she moves, ok now she's coming inside.  Quickly, I get busy so that I'm am not caught in my voyeurism!  But as I peek back at her she is still just standing there!  The only change I can detect is that the earbuds have been removed.  She stands stock-still.  Her hands are open as if waiting but they are down at her sides, fingers slightly spread.  She stands....She stands...for minutes she stands...waiting...is she hearing?  What is she seeking?  What is she receiving?

How do I still myself?  Or is the more appropriate question for me, DO I choose to be still.  I listen to the news and the pain contained within, I listen to politicians and their loud voices, I listen to office drumbeats of stress and strain, I listen to children calling out in need, direction and dreams.  I listen to washing machines, errands to grocery, school schedules and teacher conferences.  I listen to a world of hurt and ailing souls.  I listen but find no solace or answer.

The noise will not stop...nothing can make it stop....until I make a HARD choice.  And this choice requires effort and discipline.  Most of us don't make the choice of stillness; its too hard.  The woman I watched made a choice to exercise and she then made a choice, a hard choice, to stand still...still... ....still...still.  And it is in those sweat-drenched but chosen moments, those moments you and I create and carve out in our days....those are the moments He comes.  No music, no podcasts, no news.  The silence of a backyard.  The silence of a house.  The silence of an office.

He comes.  In the craziness of this world, in the craziness of days....my answer comes from the still. Close your eyes....turn off all the noise around you...be still...
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

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