Taken on Christmas Day at a family friend’s house.
This morning, I woke at 5:30 a.m.
There was no reason for this, and I’d only gone to sleep about four hours earlier. But there I was: in bed, wide awake.
I clicked on the phone to see the time, groaned, and then slid the bar with my finger to unlock it. Then I opened the usual apps in the usual order. First, email. Then Facebook and Twitter. Then Instagram. Then, because I was bored, solitaire. Then, because all the cards on the screen made my bleary eyes dizzy, Cheesar—a game app that’s recently addicted me.
But I was too tired to play games. So I groped in the dark for my earbuds, untangled them, and plugged them into my phone. Then I opened the Netflix app and streamed Parenthood from where I’d left off.
These are the things I do when I can’t sleep.
These are the things I do when I don’t want the stillness.
Stillness has always come easy for me. I’m a contemplative by nature and a contemplative by vocation. Extended times of stillness are part of my regular life, a commitment I maintain with care and relative ease.
That is, until recently.
If you subscribe to the Cup of Sunday Quiet email series, you know, from the personal notes I share in that space each week, that I’ve been walking through a difficult season in my faith life. A lot has changed in the last six months, and the changes have not been one bit comfortable.
One of the most difficult aspects of this shift is stillness. Staying present to God and the work God is doing in me is hard work, and I find myself resistant.
And so I distract myself.
And all along, the feeling that I’m missing out on something important dogs at my heels.
I know that stillness is what I need. Being present to God. Being present to myself. Being awake to my interior life.
I streamed Parenthood on my phone until 7:30 this morning. Then I closed out of Netflix, clicked off my phone, and pulled the earbuds out. My head collapsed on the pillow. I shifted to my side and pulled one knee up to my ribs. I closed my eyes. Breathed in and out.
Somehow, the grace to attend reached me. I noticed my thoughts as they rambled over my day yesterday—the things I did, the things I had planned to do but didn’t. Regrets. Sadness. Gladness. Thanks.
I felt the gift of that moment, just being present and acknowledging the truth of my thoughts and feelings to myself and to God. And then I thought of this space—how this could be a place where I invite us all to be present to the still moments in our days, at least for the next little while.
No matter how hard-won those still points are.
Will you join me?
Today, I had a still moment while laying in bed. What about you?