Stillness

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The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

This is one of my favourite poems. I love the music of the words. And the thoughts shared here resonate with me. There is so much to carry in our hearts, so much for ourselves and for our children. There are many needs to be filled in the world, and our days are packed tight with responsibilities and cares. It is good to feel the weight of these things and to apply our minds and our hands to that which we can and must do. But it is also good to be still, to stand quietly and listen. I know that sometimes I need to get away from the noise of my life. I need to turn down the sounds of my daily routines and the stream of thoughts in my head. Only then can I be present to the deeper song that fills all of reality. It is connection to that song which nourishes my soul and fills me so that I can re-enter the flow of my life in ways that are rich with intention and purpose. It is attention to this song’s rhythms that keeps me awake and focussed, and helps me to make wise decisions and to act with love. I want to live from a place of conviction, not simply from one of habit or reaction. (And I confess that I do that too often.) I want to live mindful of the opportunity in each moment to be a reflection of the love and wisdom of God. I can only do this if I take time for stillness, to “rest in the grace of the world”.

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