As a child I distinctly remember being at my Grandma’s house on an Indiana winter day. In her house, on the main floor, were four rooms. A small kitchen dining room, a cozy TV room, Grandma’s bedroom and bath (which I was firmly banned from entering) and her living room. My favorite place in the house. That day, the sun was shining right through the windows onto the faded rug.
On one wall of that room was painted a delicately blossoming cherry tree, under which sat a comfy couch, perfect to curl up and read a good book on. My Grandfathers large wooden desk with its old, dog chewed handles on another. Along the third wall were bookshelves with odd bits of this and that amongst the How-to’s and Louis L’Amour. There was The final wall was full of wonderfully tall windows, glowing with winter sunshine.
I knew that if I went and sat inside of one of those rectangles of light, right in the middle, I would be transported to a warm summer day. I could close my eyes and imagine the smell of grass around me and blue Indiana sky’s above, almost hear the leaves rustle with a slow breeze.
My thoughts would slow down until all there was, was the sparkle of mysterious fairy dust in the air, the sunlight on the inside of my eyelids. I could drift, endless, warm and content.
I could be STILL.
That stillness is much more illusive in my life now. I find it in stolen moments, rare quiet times when I am unexpectedly and surprisingly alone.
Moments late at night, when the rest of the house sleeps. Moments in the yard, dappled sun shining through the trees. Lazy moments, I think of them now. Stolen moments. It is curious to me that as a child I sought them out to complete a part of me and as an adult they feel like a guilty pleasure.
There are so many things that demand attention, so many days that go from waking to sleep with a blur of harried motion in between. Tasks to accomplish for myself or others, deadlines to meet.
Today we would call it praying, or meditating, or pondering, or becoming one with the universe. Back then I just called it being still, what ever name is given to the stillness is not the point. I believe that there is an incredible need for it. Minds and bodies must have time to reset and reach beyond themselves.
There is a place in my head, a memory from what feels like a long time ago. Warm grass, a low hill with an amazing spot that seems to perfectly hold me. The happy sounds of my family a quiet buzz in the background as I close my eyes and contentedly sleep. It was a moment. One that I hold onto, one that I can go back to.
A while back a popular movie left an impression on me. In a particularly absurd and artistic scene, a group of actors represented the chaos of the modern world, starting as a seemingly single, entity, moving and growing in number into a frenzy of movement and noise. As the scene drew to its climax, the actors fell to the stage. In the silence, a new person came on stage. Speaking softly, repeated the words – Be silent, be still, be silent, be still. The other actors rose up and embraced each other and repeated the words – Be silent, be still, be silent, be still.
Silly as it may seem, those words have come back to me in moments when the world is crashing around me out of my control and have helped me to quiet my soul.
I think it is in the silence, in the quiet moments that we begin to know who we are and how we fit into our world. As a result of those moments, we find parts of ourselves, lost or new. In the stillness, when we let everything else slide away, we find peace.
Movie credit – She’s all that. (I know, not where you might expect to find lasting advise about peace!)
Picture credit – Google Images