Essential Stillness

kayak photo for article on stillness
Hans Isaacson on

Sometimes we all need to experience stillness.

It’s not an easy thing to do in today’s world. It seems that even when we’re alone we’re not really alone. The cell phone in my pocket is a constant companion—a reminder that the busy world is only a hair’s breadth away. Even when it is silent it still calls out, tempting me to check my messages or to peruse the endless entertainment of the internet. Stillness eludes me, because I am tethered to the wide world, and too often am reluctant to let the leash go.

But we all need to let go sometimes. It is good (in fact, it is necessary, I believe) for a healthy mental, emotional, and spiritual life to permit oneself a period of blessed silence and stillness. A moment to let your mind drift from seemingly important and pressing matters, and allow the gentle (and normally imperceptible) song of the universe to wash over you.

For me that time comes mostly in the late spring and summer. I love to go kayaking, and there are few joys in my life like the peace of floating calmly on a glasslike lake or bay. In those precious moments I feel truly close to God—not like I do when I say my morning or evening prayers; not like when I go for walks or otherwise try to relax in my busy life. On the water, there is nothing except the beauty of creation, the sound of the breeze, and the swish of the water as I slide the kayak along. There is peace in those moments, and for a short time I truly know the loving embrace of God.

And sometimes I’ll catch fish.

Kayaking is not for everyone, I’m sure. But I am equally sure that God provides each one of us such a means of stillness. Maybe it’s gardening, or knitting, or hiking. Maybe eating a simple breakfast while reading a book. The list is inexhaustible. We, each of us, need to find what it is that gives us this stillness. If you’re fortunate, you already know it. If not, I implore you to start exploring the possibilities.

Once you know what it is, please make time for it. The world will not end, your life will not fall apart, if you just take the time you need in stillness. In fact, afterwards you will be far more capable of handling the various complications and demands of life.

God gives many gifts. And this gift, I believe, he gives to all. Accept it, and let it bless your life. Let stillness be for you, as it is for me, the embrace of God, and a peace which passes all understanding.

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