On being still

I'm not very apt at being still. I come by this through some combination of both nature and nurture. I remember my maternal grandmother who had six children and a farm to help run would move around doing extra jobs during mealtimes, only sitting down herself to hurriedly eat after most everyone else was finished. My mother fights with the same pattern herself when she has a houseful of her grown children visiting. And when she comes to visit me she reminds me not to do the same.

But I've had more space to just be these past weeks than I have had in years. I'm learning this being still and knowing we rarely (never?) practice in our culture. It's not valued in school, or work, or even in play once we are past toddler hood.

At first the discomfort is so strong I'm physically agitated. I feel the urge to play something with the kids, pick up a book, explore, take a picture. Check email I can't check - that urge is still plenty strong four weeks into no ability during the day to do so.

At home it would be read to the kids, fold laundry, feed someone, go somewhere, do some (paid) work, play a game, clean something, check email, do some volunteer work. Finish the next thing on my never ending list.

So I'm practicing forcing myself to leave the book, give the kids the freedom they naturally have to just be and take the photo with my eyes. Sit through the fifteen minutes that come easily and let it grow into a half hour or more. Watch the waves, or the kids or the sun shimmering over the water. Feel nature kiss my face.

And it's true what they say: the longer I do it the more I know that God is.

On being still