Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Be still and sing out loud!

It was a sunny, gorgeous Saturday afternoon and I was restless as no dreamer with a day to herself has the right to be. Oh, how I'd longed for this time. I'd planned hours like a string of gems; a sapphire one of Scripture and quiet, a ruby one of fiery, inspired writing, an emerald one of wandering the mountains near my house. For the life of me though, I could not get heart, brain, or bones to calm down and enjoy. The world and I were in some kind of a fight. The hysterical thing was that I started out by reading Psalm 46 in my quiet time with its peremptory command to be still and know that I am God. Hah and argh!

I decided to run errands. (And I hate to fragment a beautiful day with errands.) For sheer comfort, I stopped at the tiny coffee shop around the corner, got my usual creamy cappuccino, and got back in the car. I was still in the parking lot when I realized with a shock exactly what I needed to do.  I needed to escape. I glanced around, warmth growing in my mind: Gypsy, my darling blue car was all ready, the coffee was steaming in my hand, a car full of music awaited and the widest blue sky imaginable was jumping exultantly to the heavens out my window. I skipped the grocery store and headed for the hills.

There is a sinuous, two lane highway that jogs deeply north into the mountains just west of my home. It scampers out into wild places, where houses are sparse and the slopes of the mountains curve and laugh in an unbroken line from earth to sky. I headed there. I turned my music up as loud as I could bear it and let it shake the worry loose from my soul. For an hour, I let blue sky literally wash my eyes with color, clean away the illness of a too busy life. I pounded my steering wheel in time to my music, until all my angst was drummed out. I breathed slow and deep, let the swelling scent of newly greened hills fill my lungs with life. Three ravens wove a ring in the windy sky above me, back and forth, a dance that tied my soul and mind and heart back together.

There came a point where I realized, abruptly, that I was finally still. Stilled by an hour of wordless wondering. Prayer came quick as breath and I felt God laugh.  I realized that sometimes, being still is a matter of action. You have to flesh out stillness, go on the hunt for the quiet you have driven away. It takes a bit of a quest after hushed, lovely things to replace the frenzy that comes of a heart forgetting the strength of God. That day, "be still and know," became "be still and sing," "be still and watch", "be still and breathe."

Sing at the tipsy top of your lungs, and somewhere in the catch of breath and swell of music and light of your eyes, you'll know. He is God.