22 September 2007

Lesson Learned in Stillness

birch tree photo by kirsten

I’m grateful to have a weekend at home. My recent weekends away have been terrific, but as the cliché goes, there’s no place like home.

After going through my routine Saturday motions of gym, coffee, and cleaning I realized I had a decent-sized headache coming on. The LORD is teaching me much about the importance of stillness and rest these days, so taking the hint, I lay on the couch underneath the cozy ivory blanket my friend Elyse gave me, heating pad on the pillow.

I still have a hard time with stillness. Nothing is accomplished; me lying on the couch does not get the dishes put away or the toilet cleaned.

Unable to close my eyes, I look out the window. The sun is out and wispy clouds are stretched across the span of a superbly blue sky. The only other object in view is the top of a rather large birch tree, proud and prominent in my backyard. A light breeze moves through its branches and the tree appears to shimmer and sparkle as the pale undersides of the leaves reflect sunlight.

I admit I become mesmerized. I watch moment upon moment as the breeze slows and picks up again, exciting the leaves into motion. The word "beautiful" is shamefully overused, but that’s what this is in a word: simply beautiful.

The dishes still need to be put away and the toilet still needs to be cleaned. However, I can’t help but think that something very important happened while I lay on the couch today, doing nothing but watching the breeze incite the leaves on the birch tree to motion. I’m not even sure precisely what that something important was, except if it was to be still and know that God is still God, and to call to mind that His grace and goodness are great, stretching into even the smallest corners of our universe.


  1. This comment doesn't really have to do with your post, but i thought you would think it was funny. I've been chatting with a guy from eharmony, and yesterday he asked for my phone number. I felt a bit anxious about giving it to him, but then i told myself "okay, this is just old anxiety coming up....you're fine". But after I sent it to him, I've been hoping that he doesn't call. I don't think that is a good sign :)

  2. I relaxed into this one.

    I admit the same happened with me today on my porch...although I had my canoe to fix, the lawn to mow, a hike to plan, and other things I wanted to do. But I stopped, stretched out on my back, and watched the tops of the trees dance in the wind.

    There is something to us just "being" and letting God be God—right in front of us.

    Wonderful thoughts, Kirsten.

  3. well, to revisit the word again...BEAUTIFUL!!! i think of all the people rushing around in this world, who never get experiences like this, b/c our society places such high value on busyness and productivity.

    i know what you mean about knowing something important happened, but not really having the words for it. what a great little gift God gave you that moment.... He whispered a few 'sweet nothings' to you, His beloved, through the early fall breezes... :)

  4. I, too, felt myself slow down and take a deep breath and just be, for a moment, through this post. I could picture the birch tree swaying and shimmering in the breeze. I had a feeling something profound was going to emerge from that moment for you, and I was blessed to read the way that it did. I love the way you see things, Kirsten, and also the mere fact that you DO see things. You notice them. They make an impression on you. God's artistry is not lost on you. I love it.

  5. Ilse -- Uh-oh!! That is not a good sign at all. Hopefully if he does call, he can take the news that you're not so interested after all gently. Keep me up to date!!

    23 Degrees -- So good to hear from you again in this space. You always seem to have some additional wisdom to contribute. I love the way you phrase it: "Letting God be God, right in front of us."

    Blue -- "Beautiful" may be overused, but sometimes that is the only descriptor that fits. Ooh, and I love the idea of God whispering "sweet nothings" to me. He certainly was whispering in those moments & I am monumentally grateful for having been still enough to hear.

    Christianne -- Thank you for your kind & beautiful thoughts. I'm so glad I obeyed the voice that told me to lie down and to be, and that I could not close my eyes. It's as if He said, "See what I have for you."

  6. Ooh, I feel like I should add this too ...

    With all I've been working through and learning lately in terms of my journey of faith, this moments of beauty and rest were a much needed respite. I have been infinitely blessed by walking this path, but there have been times where it has been especially overwhelming considering the responses of family & friends and my own thoughts and feelings about inviting such a huge life change. It was amazing to -- as 23 Degrees put it so eloquently -- to let God be God, right in front of me. It was definitely one of those moments where (as trite as it may sound), you know it's going to be alright, that the God who made the cosmos is also the God who stirs the leaves into motion, who sends the sunlight down, who ordains every heartbeat and silences every fear.

  7. A lovely reflection. It calls out, "come, be silent."

  8. So now that its thursday - what are you so excited for?

  9. Hi Ilse -- I was excited for Thursday because I got to come down to Seattle to see Mike after 2 weeks of not seeing him (he was in Tampa last weekend). My friend Elyse sang the national anthem at the Mariner's game last night, so I decided to make a long weekend of it. :o)

  10. Too bad you can't come and visit me - we need to to find a time when you are down here to go out for coffee or something.

  11. hope you are still enjoying the stillness..... i have a moment to 'make the rounds' so to speak and wanted to stop by. :) enjoy this upcoming fall weekend, friend!