Pause. Take a deep breath. Wait. Look. Listen. Be still.
All of these seem like the simplest words, the easiest instructions. What's not to get? A lot apparently, based on my observations, based on my own hurried, busy little life. People are just in such a crazy hurry these days, and many days, I'm in the race too. "There was so much work left to do, and so much we'd already done…" Oh yes, Rich Mullins, you nailed it, and I can barely hear you sing that line, that richly layered song (Sometimes by Step) about life, about my life, without tears slipping down my tired face. My to-do lists are gaining on me, projects dreaded and beloved seem to multiply when I'm asleep, and anxiety steals my joy while I'm preoccupied with the business of living my life.
"Beware the Barrenness of Busyness," I read those words on a plaque decades ago, and it struck me then (ouch!) as true, but now I know it to be even truer. It is easy, way too easy, to simply join the chase. Everyone I know seems to be forever rushing, scurrying to attend the next event, to acquire the next gadget - newer, faster, better…- to deliver the darling children to their next life shaping encounter, to experience the latest cuisine at the newest place in town. Always rushing, dashing, hurrying. While it’s usually easy to explain what they/we are running toward, it is worth pondering what we're running from…
I hardly think it's possible, that we'd be on the run from grace, not the people I'm thinking of, not intentionally. And yet, I know it's true that when I slow down enough to think about inhaling, to pause, to reflect, to listen or look, just for a moment, every time I bump into grace, or maybe grace bumps into me. And every time I am so refreshed, so strengthened, so encouraged, I wonder why in the world I don't "do this" more often. Why in the world don't I just let the world fly past in a blur while I pause, take a deep breath, wait, look, listen, be still.
So tonight I'm on the porch. (When have I ever been able to do that, midMarch, in central Pennsylvania? And I almost missed it tonight!) Nothing big has happened. I am listening to the endless sounds of a country nightfall - quiet barn noises (chewing, an occasional low moo, horses thudding against stalls, a small dog fussing) birds saying goodnight, the water garden murmuring its continual song. I wasn't at the end of my daily list, but I chose to pause on the porch. I think sometimes, this is what it comes to, a choice. We must be intentional. If we don't do anything differently, nothing will ever change. I will take time to ponder what I'm running toward, what I might be running from...Grace?
And I will choose a quieter path, the road less traveled, or maybe no road at all.
Hickory Lane traffic is noisier than usual tonight; our sleepy little corner of the valley echoes with tire squealing, motor racing adrenalin. I want to tell everyone to just go home and sit still. I think it would do them good.
I know it's been good for me.
Pause.Take a deep breath. Wait. Look. Listen. Be still.