Does anyone else have as much difficulty sitting still as I do? I can’t tell you how many times my husband says to me, “will you sit still!” As soon as I sit down, I think of something else I should do before I relax. I have always identified with Martha more than Mary!
If you are anything like me you have obligations: Monday night is community choir practise, Tuesday is Reading Club, Wednesday is yoga, and Thursday is church choir. And then there is work, WMS, Sunday school…and I don’t even have children of my own to look after like some of you. It is so difficult to, “be still.”
I do, however, love Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I have used it at Kids Camp or Sunday school with actions, to calm restless children, and sometimes if I am frustrated I repeat it to myself, “Be still and know that I am God.”
As I am writing this, it is the season of Lent. Rather than giving up something for Lent this year I joined 40 Acts from the website Stewardship UK. (www.40acts.org.uk) The purpose of 40 Acts is to do generous acts during Lent and to consciously think of others. Today’s email from 40 Acts was entitled “All Ears” and said: “It’s tempting sometimes to make our conversations a tool for self-expression rather than genuine consideration for what the other person is saying. Remove interruptions and that natural inclination to queue up what you are going to say next, and actually listen to people.”
That made me think of Psalm 46. To truly focus and listen to the other person, to hear what they are trying to tell you, you have to “be still.” In our busy lives, filled with noise, constant input from media, deadlines, and all the things which are expected of us, it is so very hard to “be still.” And even more so to be still and listen.
Each day, the 40 Acts site suggests three options to fulfill your act of kindness—an easy option such as listening to someone in line at the grocery store for example, a slightly more complex option such as calling someone and asking how they are, and a third option to take someone out for tea or coffee and to listen to their stories.
I guess sitting and listening is more of a Mary thing than a Martha thing, isn’t it? We can all learn to step outside of our comfort zone and do a little more. As someone suggested, Jesus never said, “sorry, I don’t have time right now.” So if you know of an elderly person who is alone, someone who is lonely and loves to visit, or a friend or person in your congregation that often makes you think, “oh, I don’t have time for them today,” maybe today is the day to take for that person. Sit, be still, and listen.
Today, make a conscious effort. Be still—for yourself. Be still—for friends and family. Be still—for the lonely around you who need support. Be still.
“When you gave bread to earth’s hungry children, when you gave shelter to war’s refugees, when you remembered those most forgotten, you cared for me in the smallest of these.” –Ruth Duck
PS: In the Fall of 2015, I visited Guatemala with a group WMS members to learn about the mission projects of our denomination. This photo was taken on that trip. It is a Sunday morning in Tuixcajchis, 7,500 feet on the mountain top.