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Posts Tagged ‘stillness’

T1221029-roadrunner.gifhis day could be any day, even today. Or perhaps “this day” has already happened and, looking back, we can say, “Oh, yes, that day–that day caught me off guard.” When Mike died, not even two months ago, a thief crept into my life and plundered me–that day. I thought I knew the way of life; I thought I had the God journey rooted in my understanding, but that day became this day for me.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. [I Thessalonians 5:4-5, NIV]

My faith is strong enough to keep me standing. I am grateful for the love and steadfastness of the Holy Spirit consciously whispering and sustaining me in ruach (breath of God). I am conscious of the prayers of the people that allow me to crowd surf these days and now weeks.

In some ways, it’s hard to disallow my former self to run this show, that planner and problem solver. She would have had everything worked out by now, she would know how to make all the ends meet and put order to the chaos. She is my cheerleader but she is also my goad. She is impatient to move on, to be in control, to make decisions. Over the years, she has buried her feelings and disappointments and simply built new paths instead. If a way is blocked, she goes another. She is her mother’s daughter, persistent and undaunted, self-sufficient and capable, enthusiastic and confident with energy and passion spread about like buckshot.

She has experienced what happens when her Road Runner stops moving, stops running. Everything in her warns of the danger. Keep moving. Keep talking. Keep busy. If nothing else, at least turn on the white noise.

But another voice is speaking as well, with questions: what’s important to this day? What is needful? Can we negotiate this time? Can we be more like conjoined twins and work together, and not compete to be one way or the other?

And if there is no decision, my “Martha” asks? Who will do the work?

Just wait. The pieces are not all in place yet. Wait. Stand a while longer. Try. Test the silence. Test doing nothing.

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It’s time to put some idols under the microscope. I get too complacent about my idols, thinking they have little power, after all, how bad could they be? I’m a walking believer, I study the scriptures, I pray, I go to church, I even fast . . .

I John 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)–[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be).
{Amplified]

All faith-based disciplines are a help to the life of a follower of Christ. All of these practices aid the fuller indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But for every discipline and practice that is a help, there are “idols” that pull and push against us . . . me.

My idols (in no particular order):

  • Newspapers, News, Blogs, or just about anything on the Internet
  • Lattes and Loose Tea, brewed correctly
  • Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, FlickR
  • Sleeping late; pushing the snooze button 4 times
  • Being Busy, really busy, I mean really, really busy
  • Reading as many books at the same time as I can: current load is 8
  • Driving alone, so I can listen to an audio book
  • Smart Phone
  • Gadgets, or coveting gadgets, or reading about gadgets
  • Being funny
  • Being casual about money, a joke, since it’s in short supply
  • Writing anything: blog, book, reports, instructions, grocery lists
  • Photography, even without a good camera; or maybe it’s kvetching about that too
  • NPR (if I’m short on audio book) – silence not allowed in the car
  • Panera with a few special people (you know who you are)
  • Scheduling the family: even after age 18
  • Age lines, puffy veins, dry eye, sore feet, plus lots of extra pounds
  • Talking, a nice way of saying gossip
  • Being with and taking care of dogs & cats
  • Candles = ambiance
  • Pandora: Smooth Jazz
  • Work: librarian, manager, volunteer, parent
  • Workshops and Training – learn something else new
  • Children’s needs, Husband’s needs and all the needs they don’t know they need

Oh, come on, goofy right? Aren’t idols supposed to be like Mother Teresa or Brad Pitt? Aren’t they the rich and famous, the indulgences, the lofty or the lowly?

No, not really. I mean, I suppose those are issues too, but really, for me, it’s the “time suckers!” : anything that takes me away from my awareness of the Presence within, the marriage of Spirit, the inner life, Christ in me and me in Christ. That’s the very essence of what it means to be an overcomer in this world, this age, this culture. I know all this in my mind, but instead, I act out: I step on my scale and start another diet, I read too many posts, I play too much Scrabble or Words with Friends, I fill my time and watch the digital clock on my computer turn over, minute by minute by minute.

I occupy my mind. Ha Ha. Occupy Irmgarde. These activities, these mind numbing time wasters, they are all camping out inside me. And even if none are particularly bad, they draw me away from my center.

When I was in acting school, I learned a surefire remedy for hiccups: every time! Basically, it requires the person to “relax the diaphragm.” That’s all. But, to do cure usually requires silence, stillness, breath, and centering.

To cure idol pandering depends on the same practices.

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