Sunday, April 29, 2012

Road Trippin' with River, Days 6, 7 and 8: Heard, Half-Heard in the Stillness.

Friday River and I enjoyed the beauty of creation. From streams canopied in spring greens and impossible lushness to the top of the highest peak in Tennessee, swathed in clouds and crisp air. The leaves filter the light like fingers on a fretboard. Touching it here and there to release its song. So skillfully, such grand music. There are moments when you get lost in it, the beauty that is. Moments when you are almost quiet. Moments when words will never be enough, when your heartbeat slowing is praise enough for God. 

It's been a lazy Sunday afternoon. Much coffee. River is reading Sir Author Conan Doyle's The Empty House and missing his home and his cat, Mr. Hopkins, who is named for Gerard Manly Hopkins. (River just reminded me that I named him, that is apparently I gave River two choices. Huxley or Hopkins. The priest poet won out.) And truth is I am missing Haiti. Longing to be back doing something. But we need this time, River and I. To ground each other, sand the rough edges off, laugh without inhibition and such. Tuesday morning we will head back early a.m. and 2 weeks from yesterday I will fly back into Port-au-Prince. 

The rest of this weekend has been quasi-quiet contemplation (and coffee, always the coffee) here in the mountains. Trying to be still in His presence and yet still being so....well, un-still. I am thinking about what that communicates to my Savior, the lover of my soul. That I should be more content to fixate on that which I cannot control than with the tenderness of His presence. When you're in love, there is that point when you trust that other person enough to just be still with them, to linger in each moment, your souls communicating without words that this is where you'd rather be than anywhere else. And how much more infinitely so with Him who is sovereign.

And is it not in the stillness when we can hear him most clearly, when he pours into us most purely, and from where we can best go out into the chaos of life and love a broken world back from pieces?

Here is a lovely poem by T. S. Eliot called Little Gidding (V). The couplet in bold somehow exactly captures how I am feeling right. about. now... 

We shall not cease from exploration 
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for 
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

The Voice of the hidden waterfall. The Source of the longest river. The single Note that rises above the cacophony and chaos of life, that which we can tune our souls to. The lovesong of His stillness.


  1. Sitting still...and what that means to God. I am going to think about that. Because you're right, sitting still in someone's presence is a true sign of trust...

    1. I am so bad at sitting still with Jesus. My mind just never stops. I want to really trust Him, really rest in His tenderness, and learn to abide there.