Stillness Amidst Agitation

And the beat goes on.

I arrived in Simcoe just as the 2008 recession was digging its tenacles into every fibre of society. We more or less recovered, at least economically; but it seems there have been constant and serious seismic shivers shaking life ever since. The past many months have only intensified the severity and increased the size of the sample. This morning as I sat to pen this piece, reports of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have exploded onto the news — not the consoling information one longs for!

While occasionally lashing out (okay maybe more than occasionally) and pondering best ways to respond and trying both to discern watershed moments from irritating drips and to separate truth from error, I have found myself almost constantly churned up – in my mind, in my heart, in my spirit.

Perhaps you, too, have found yourself in such a “disturbed” state. (I used that word so all my “friends” – both of them – could have a cheap shot!) If you are also stirred up, read on. I have learned that the loss of regular in-person interaction has contributed to my pervading inner unrest. Phone or Zoom chats (wonderful as they are) don’t allay like a face-to-face encounter. Even when they are intense and contested, there is often a healing, cathartic element that arises and the proverb that asserts “iron sharpens iron” is commonly experienced.

However, after contemplating my ongoing inner agitation, I have been drawn back to a deep affirmation. The shortest statement of this counsel is found in the Psalms. “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10). Earlier in the Psalm, descriptions of turmoil and upheaval are given as the context into which this verse is addressed.

For people who are active doers, more attuned to serving and sacrificing, this call to “centre down” is challenging. For a society, more and more prone to the instantaneous – in feedback, in response, even in meal preparation – the implied time needed to quiet a troubled mind, heart, and spirit is counter-cultural. Yet, I am more and more aware that this is a summons from the Spirit to me (and to you?).

“Ian, be still. Push all the political, societal, cultural, and denominational upheavals aside. Remember (know) who I am (I AM) – the sovereign ruler of the universe who is with you.” I’m not very good at this “centring stuff.” That’s another reason I miss in person interactions. When I am with others, they often help me remember what I have neglected.

Good news! Lent is here. Stillness (or extra stillness) is a good discipline to take us to Easter and into the ongoing upheavals of 2022.

2 thoughts on “Stillness Amidst Agitation

  1. Thank you, Ian. What a perfect description! Disturbed state! I know exactly how that feels, and only being still before God helps me when I recognize my Disturbed State.

  2. Ian, this totally speaks to my complete being. I’m a person who knows the importance of serving. I’m more a Martha than a Mary. I want a balance of Mary and Martha in my day-to-day life. Thank you for your own heartfelt reflections.

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