Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Being Serene

I've been thinking about serenity lately.  Finding that place of peace and rest.  The calm in the storm, getting the most out of this moment.  And this one.  I've been consciously listening to laughter from the next room, looking at rolling hills, memorizing the faces of loved ones, watching the antics of this long awaited pet who definitely enjoys life in the NOW.
Adam doesn't remember having a pet so is loving our kitten Moli (Fijian spelling)!
Not that life has stopped--it hasn't!--but we need to find those moments when we can.  Planning them, instigating them, choosing them over the instant, the things that just distract us.

I have a fireplace for the first time since I was a child and for someone who finds serenity in watching sunsets, ocean waves, fish tanks, and fires this is an exciting thing!  I prefer the sun but am looking forward to winter this year.
Our stove all ready for winter minus the wood and the cold.  
It's put me in a nesting mode and for the first time in ages I've picked up my crochet needle to make a blanket/afghan.  There's a release in creativity and something good happens inside when you sit there doing something routine like that.  It gives you time to think, unravel tangled thoughts, pray.  The other night as I was crocheting by the 'fire'--my lit candle on top of the stove!--Rachel came home and teased me about the 'old lady' sitting there.  She then commented about how no one her age knows how to do things like that.  That their lives are filled with a continual stream of 'entertainment' instead of movies, things online, etc.

I don't do well very long living like that.  I think most of us are probably that way.  If we don't dial down now and then we don't process.  If we don't process we live stressed and don't even realize the parts of us that need to change; the places were we're anxious, have bad attitudes, don't recognize the needs of others.  Just generally what we need to do to live life better, more content and fulfilled, and ready to be used by Him as well.

I recently saw a Humans of New York Facebook post with a photo of a homeless man in a wheelchair.  The dialogue with the photo went:
"I think I'm the happiest when I'm broke.
"Why's that?"
"Because I can always find a good meal.  But when I'm broke, I can't afford to do the things I shouldn't be doing."

Profound really.  In a society that is rich financially we often find ourselves truly poor because the easy 'fix', whatever that may be, crowds out what's really important and sometimes actually harms us.

There are times that it's impossible to stop for any length of time.  But to live long-term with the pressing overwhelming the precious is a tragedy.  We miss out.  We aren't good for ourselves or others.  We live on a starvation diet, barely getting needed nourishment from our Source and the Great Relationship of our lives grows cold.  And our human ones follow.

We're all unique and have to find balance.  I need to do something that makes me sit still for a bit and calms me.  Steve needs to do something active like work on an engine or putter in the garage.  I admire people who can produce things like great food or a work of art while they're getting in touch with their Creator.  I find it interesting  that all religions and creeds have an element of this.  Finding their 'zen', their place of peace. It's a basic human need.

I, like many, am very tactile and generally influenced in all my senses by things around me.  Certain environments are harder for me than others, so I've had to learn ways to 'settle' in order to focus on Him. While I'm not into doing ritualistic things for the purpose of tradition alone, I find that certain routines help. One of my current favorites is praying with a small wooden cross that I hold in my hand. As soon as I pick it up, the feel of it in my hand, the visual of being reminded of my Redeemer, helps me shut down the things around and focus on Him.

It's getting in touch with who we are each uniquely created to be and operating in that.  It's letting it be OK to be who we really are in Him.  It's how HE made us!  How He wants us to come.  Uniquely individual. One person in billions, but one cherished individual to Him.

The world is bent and broken.  What seems to satisfy for an instant actually leaves us thirsty for more.  We need to dial down, reconnect with our need for Him and find the balance of true serenity before it's too late.  Before busyness is just a habit and the space in between is filled by all that is empty and meaningless.  And life just passes by.

"Yet I am always with you;  you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory."  (Ps. 73:23-24)

We need to do what it takes to LIVE.  Forever doesn't start in some distant far off time.  If you are living and breathing today, your forever has already started.

photo credit Christine White