Tag Archives: calm

Return to calm

The mundane tasks of everyday living

create a sense of tranquility

that stretches out like a

placid lake reaching for the horizon,

each day the same as the one before

and the one to come.

The monotony of routine and habit  

can lull me into believing that the future

will be made up of days like these.

I can sometimes tire of the monotony,

almost wishing for an interruption in the predictable—

until one inevitably comes along,

jolting me out of languid days and tossing me about

like a small boat caught in a storm.

And then I crave the sameness that had been,

the predictability of a daily routine.

I long to return to those times

when I could anticipate how each day would unfold,

when there were no surprises and

I could spend hours daydreaming about future travel or

gathering with friends.

I cannot stop or wish away these unwelcome interruptions.

I can only take comfort in knowing

that the turbulence will end and

calm will return.

Live in the calm

My friend Jim and I stayed at the New Jersey Shore for much of the winter he had brain cancer. Friends had generously given us their oceanside condo, and in between cancer treatments and visits to Jim’s mother, we made the Shore our home.

Jim had always loved being at the Shore. He saw God’s grandeur in the vastness of the ocean and God’s power in the roaring waves. “Look how big our God is,” he would say.

I saw it, too, but I don’t think as manifestly as Jim.

Until that December, when for five straight days, the ocean was completely calm, a sea of glass stretching out to the horizon. Every day, we marveled at the sight of the ocean without waves.

God-vulnerability-mysticism

To me, it was miraculous and a sign.

Every day that week, I pondered God’s power in the undisturbed water meeting blue sky at the horizon—a portrait in blue.

On the fifth day, as I walked along the shoreline, stepping on the remnants of seashells that the surf had deposited there, I heard God speak to me.

This is how you are to live. Leave everything that is sharp and broken at the edge and move out into the calm of the ocean. Live in the calm.

That memory came back to me the other day when a friend recounted her amazement at being at the ocean. She had just come back from a week’s stay at the Jersey Shore and was in awe of the sight of water stretching out forever and the unrelenting waves.

It was the reminder I needed at that moment because my mother had just been released from hospital.

During her hospital stay and its aftermath, I have been feeling like the tumultuous ocean. Being in the emergency room took me back to the hours I spent in a similar room when Jim got sick.

The worst day of my mother’s hospitalization was the one where she clutched at her throat all day, clearly in distress, and we wondered if she would survive. She did, and her doctor decided not to do any more tests. To what end? She is ninety-three.

We took her home the following day, and she is regaining her strength. Like Jim, my mother hates going to the hospital where she has so little control over what happens to her.

She is in God’s hands, I have repeatedly reminded myself since the day the ambulance came, in the same way I used to say Jim was in God’s hands.

I don’t know what God is doing with my mother, but I am clear that God is inviting me to let go and to trust that my mother is in God’s hands.

God invites me to live in the calm, beyond the raging emotions, the drama of relationship dynamics and my own fears of being vulnerable. God reminds me that I will find peace in the calm.

Let go, God says to me. Live in the calm.

God-vulnerability-mysticism