Wave upon wave of noise and actions have swept over our city and our nation. By now, many of us are feeling exhausted or depleted. I would encourage you to consider the power of silence and stillness. Challenge the assumption in our culture that you must respond, retweet, blog or otherwise contribute to the swollen tributaries of information and disinformation.
How will you and I distinguish between truth or lies, fake news or facts, the guiding and dependable star of our destiny or the temporary flash of famous but disreputable persons? Silence. Quiet. Stillness. Fill a jar with water and then pour some dirt in it and shake it. The agitation merely makes it difficult to see. Let that jar sit undisturbed and soon, the sediment settles. So with your heart and mind.
Lao-tzu (chapter 11 of the Tao te Ching) captures the power of emptiness:
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
There is the scene in the Gospels of Jesus getting into a boat after days spent with crowds of people who pressed him for healing and for words, for miracles and cures. He rowed across the lake and then walked to a lonely place to pray…alone.
In these unsettling days, settle. In these loud days, practice silence. Find that place of peace and quiet so you can hear your own heart and mind and the still, small voice of God. Shhhh. Listen. The waves retreat. There is a still point on the horizon. And believe it or not, one of those quiet places of peace and a refuge can be found every Sunday in a middle school auditorium in SW D.C. We worship there. We retreat from the world at large so we may reenter it with truth, mercy and love. ~See you Sunday