She swayed her legs like a little girl whose joy bubbled from her belly, though she was well over Fifty, the little girl in her was present. As she lay on her belly, she was lifted, her being leaped with joy. Her hair up in a bun, as her pen stroked the pages beneath her nose. She started slow as she looked around but once she got into it, she didn’t look up until she was done. The words came flowing, like water gushing through previously dry pipes. In that moment, the world stood still, she had found quietness in the midst of the activity around her, a moment of silence; she was on a date with herself, sorting through her thoughts, finding clarity.
I smiled as I looked at the lady, her peace was palpable. The busyness of her surroundings did not affect her, she was constant even as the weather shifted. She was. The winds blew but she lay still.
Her image has replayed in my mind over the last couple of days, I’ve had a series of what feels like 26 hour days, where it is only by the grace of God that I’ve been able to balance all of the roles I play. As I’ve been immersed in my surroundings, answering to the ‘Mummy’ and ‘Mama’ calls from the girls, I have craved silence. A time to be still, to hear beyond the noise and then move and be present in the movement.
I went for a reading workshop a few days ago and one of the activities that the teachers do with the children is teach them how to be active listeners. They blindfold them and ask them to listen for a minute and say the sounds that they’ve heard. I tried it, and I loved the result. Sitting there and listening showed me that there are things I don’t hear when I am fixated on one thing and running from one thing to the other. In the silence, you celebrate diversity, you identify sounds that you’d not have picked up.
Yesterday I read a devotional online that highlighted Psalm 46:10,
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Stillness precedes knowledge.
This hit home for me, it’s difficult to know God as you run around like a headless chicken. When you still yourself, you hear things beyond your environment, then peace and joy can bubble to the surface from the depths of your belly.
The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho has been such a heartwarming read in this season, as I search for stillness and practice the art of listening first before I run. It makes a great difference when you listen before you act.
Here’s to finding quiet, pursuing stillness in the midst of the chaos.