Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Standing Still

Summer storm out my back door
My parents decided where to place their home, and which way the rooms would face, just so that they could watch the sunset. When I was a child they often made time to stop and watch. While I was usually rushing to get a drink or blankets or anything else to make a perfectly relaxing moment, once they were seated facing west, they were seated until the show was over. I usually missed at least a little of it fussing with something, or retrieving some desperately important item. Like a straw. What was I thinking?

I'm older, but not much wiser in this respect. In the evenings I'm often caught saying, "just a second," as I try to wrap up some small task. In fact my children have a very warped definition of the word second...after hearing it for five years, as in "I'll be there in just a second," my son was shocked to find out it was actually the time between two ticks of his clock. Was that a little skepticism I saw on his sweet face?

I think being still can make us feel guilty sometimes, and so "getting stuff done" before relaxing gives us permission to do nothing. I hate leaving dishes undone, bills unpaid, and emails unread on my way to bed. This is strange since the very same items are often ignored, without any discomfort on my part, all day long.

Rushing also makes relaxing hard. I have trouble slowing down, and even feel a kind of emotional whiplash. My body may be on the deck with a warm blanket and a glass of ice water, but my mind is back on a list of minutia.

There is an exception. Sometimes we read, or hear, or see something so extraordinary it literally stops us still. And most evenings in Montana, that's the kind of sunset we get. Thoughts are wiped clean, silliness falls into perspective, and if we hold our breaths it's because time is standing still.

And when you consider the elaborate, gratuitous, glorious, and ephemeral things sunsets are, you have to believe that standing still is just what God had in mind.


  1. I can so identify with this. As I get older I'm learning to savor life's moments more, but it's hard. I still say "Just a sec" -- to a lot of people. I don't know why it is we feel accomplishing little tasks is more importat than *being*. It doesn't seem to be to God.

  2. I think I need to find time to stop by, so I can make you sit and relax a little.;) Beautiful picture!