"Can't you just be still?" I ask my 5 year old as his legs swing back and forth in a frenzy as he sits on the couch. His feet are hitting the bottom of the couch as I lean against it and it's driving me a little crazy. This is not the first time I've asked him to be still. When he's running (or galloping) back and forth from the family room to the dining room for what seems like the hundreth time, I ask him the same thing. The constant, sometimes frenzied moment drives me a little batty. I can't concentrate. Too many movements going on.
It's like he can't help it. In different moments when I ask him, he just gives me this look as his arms are swinging back and forth or he's twirling in a circle, as if to say "I can't help it. I can't be still."
I will sometimes even test him. "Can you be still for a moment? Let me see you be still. Let's try it." And he tries it, but he can only hold that body of his still for a minute, before his arm starts to twitch or his head starts to move up and down again.
The rare times that he is still? When he is watching something on t.v. that he is really interested in or when he is concentrating on a task that he is working on. When he is focused.
The same applies to my 3 year old.
As I watch both their constant, frenzied movements today -- I think of myself. Though physically I am still for moments throughout the day, even a couple of hours as I sit on the floor with my 8 month old or while I'm driving back and forth in the car, I'm not still, really. My mind is constantly racing and my emotions are going as fast as my mind as they spike up and down as I react to the different situations that I find myself in.
I am reminded of a biblical scripture. God talking to his people and telling them to "Be still and know that I am God." The implication (in my mind) being that He is big and can handle anything, from the simplest of your worries to the grandest of your problems. Be still and reflect on me. The solution will come. The very act of reflecting requires focus and in order to be truly focused one needs to be still.
It dawns on me that I am not still enough to be focused. Maybe when I'm writing my blog or updating my Facebook page or writing an email. Basically, when I'm writing or posting on my computer. That is when I'm not just physically still, but mentally and emotionally still as well because I am so focused. And yet I that's not truly still, is it? True stillness requires a little bit more, I believe.
I think when I am reading a book, I almost reach that place of true stillness because I am the most relaxed and the most content.
Is God looking at me like I look at my two older boys? Does he wish to say "Too much movement, Melanie. Just relax."
The difference...my boys are kids with boundless energy. They need a couple of outlets. Also, it's joyful movement in opposed to my frenzied movement which can stem from worry or just "doing, doing, doing" all the time. The city girl in me expects to be in constant motion. After all I grew up in an urban surrounding of constant movement (i.e. rushing people, speeding subways, etc.) Not that there's anything wrong with "doing" or moving. There's a sense of accomplishment when we're doing the tasks set before us on a daily basis, and completing them.
Yet, there's an amazing benefit to just being still. In a relaxed way.
There's that laser focus one gets to partake in. You get to witness and see what's really before you (or within you) when you are still. In my case, I get to connect with my surroundings, with words, with others, with myself, with God. I get to experience contentment.
Moments of stillness can be so good.
Right now I'm picturing those moments when we, my family of five of are lying cuddled against each other in The Parents bed on a Sunday morning or when I'm just sitting on the back patio, surrounded by quiet, looking towards the mountains.
Perfect, utter stillness.
Feels so good even in this moment as I sit here on the floor...
...moments before the 5 year old gallops by me being pulled by the 3 year old from the family room to the dining room.