Stillness is what creates love.
Movement is what creates life.
To be still
And still moving –
That is everything.
–Do Hyun Choe
The waiting. Oh the waiting. The waiting can make us crazy, can’t it? The waiting threatens to undo a careful and crafted life, a life of purpose and productivity. The waiting can make the most rested and renewed person resort to a level of doubt and restlessness unbeknownst to her in her lifetime.
The waiting for promised and good, the waiting for the revealed, the waiting for the anticipated feels useless and haunting sometimes. The revisitation of voices and questions and fear are unleashed on the most insecure of days. As the fierce wind rattles the windows, so the insecurity rattles the bones. Clink clink, bang bang – doubt flourishes and fear reigns. Questions abound and ungracious, assumed answers come with a vengeance, raging and fuming with condemnation and impossibility.
In these times of shift, the undercurrents of upheaval threaten the clarity of our call, and our peace. Faith feels feeble. Longing and desire stretch thin like a reed, waiting to snap. The only plausible answer: Wait.
There is no perfect and elegant way to wait. Waiting is strange and humiliating and messy and disjointed and odd. When I’m asked, “How are you?” my answer is often preceded by an eye roll, with a “Fine, I think,” while gazing at the ceiling, hoping the answer lies overhead. Waiting can be a dark land with alternating moments of hand-wringing and doubt, surrender and renewed trust.
While Eric and I have been fortunate in our life together, we have also known our fair share of upheaval. The past thirteen years have been spent growing a business and growing babies into responsible and generous pre-adults. The challenges ebb and flow, with years of rise and years of fall. We have, as a couple, learned to hold things with a tentative grip, relaxed with some and tight with others. We have discovered the value of asking discerning questions alongside the release of pride. None of us is immune to the humbling lessons learned from struggle. None of us is immune to vulnerability. None of us is immune to the work of waiting.
And now, in this new season, as I wait, I am reminded to go further. To do what may seem wasteful, ridiculous, impossible – to choose quiet, still, solitary.
You need not leave your room. Remain seated at your table and listen. You need not even listen; simply wait. You need not even wait, just be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
To be enough in this world is a feat known to few. The clamor of comparison, the lure of lights, the draw of personal development never ends. The tentacles each beckon, motioning towards one more notion or opportunity for self-improvement – to become better, richer, fuller, more interesting. Even the church invites us to add more, do more, be more – all good things, of course. The temptation to find the next thing, that one thing that will be the answer, is constant, if we let it. The ego idols of prestige and recognition, praise and reverence rattle with the coursing wind.
Striving. Yearning. Adding.
Are our houses built upon our proving, our fatigue and busy? When we crawl under the cool covers, heads on our pillows, do we believe, do we know we’ve done enough or must we recount all the undone, all the wasted? These days are heavy laden with need and the cry persists: Let’s go! Let’s do this! Keep moving, don’t slow down!
I eschew the silence, for the silence forces reckoning, forces my own contemplation and consideration, tapping into latent insecurity and unmet needs. But once I give up my own ideas of what I should want, what I should do, I discover rest. Silence and solitude uncover peace and love and I soak in the knowledge of how fiercely loved I am. Silence ushers in this truth. Stillness gives room. Solitude reminds me of the persistent grace of God. Waiting no longer remains an obligation, a pressure, but becomes a gift, a gift of presence. With eyes to see I know any other response beyond gratitude, any action out of turn, any premature step forward is half-baked and ill-prepared, capable of harm.
The fuel for the birth is in the wait. The pushing, the reaching, the pain never disappoint in due time. But isn’t it horrible? The worst you can imagine. But the beauty, and the pride at having done it, having made it is incomparable, beyond word and comprehension. New life, a fresh creation, built upon the unshakeable foundation of perfect, fulfilled, and unrelenting love.
It is good.
What are you waiting for?