Be Still

St Peter's Memory Garden

… and Max said, “Be Still!”


That is the line that sticks with me from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.  It’s always been a favorite book of mine, and over the weekend, my four-year-old and I enjoyed it together.  We’ve been imagining our own wild rumpus ever since, and I am overly excited that my kid wants to read this story over and over again.


But here’s the thing.  While I have always loved how that book encourages imagination, compassion, and learning from those who might appear different than us, this weekend, this classic became a spiritual practice for me.


“Be still!” I would whisper/shout to myself when my mind started spinning with all of the news about this virus. “Be still!” I would tell myself when I wanted to put away a few more things, clean a few more dishes, or send just one more email.  “Be still!” I would repeat, mantra-like, as I tried to settle my spirit before bedtime.  Be still.  Be still.  Be still. 

We do not know what is ahead, Friends.  We can guess, and we can speculate, and we can do so in fear, or based in reality, or with research, or just because our guts say so, but the future is wildly unknown right now.  I wonder if we can each take a cue from the wild rumpus and be still.


I mean, I suspect that you’re overwhelmed by the online resources being offered by so many wonderful people and organizations.  I imagine that your to do lists have taken a drastic shift in recent days.  I wonder if, like me, you are weary from troubleshooting, saturated with emotions, and oddly hopeful amid all of it.


Which reminds me… one of my favorite scriptures is “Be still and know that I am God.”  I have been dwelling in those words ever since I read Where the Wild Things Are at the beginning of this virus crisis.  I sing it to a tune that I was taught decades ago, and I have pulled out a picture of a place in Scotland where I discovered that verse on a bench.  I know that the road ahead is going to be wild – there’s no way it won’t be at this point – but I also know that God is offering us a sacred stillness, if only in our hearts for a moment, and I am determined to embrace it.  Won’t you join me?  “Let the wild rumpus begin!” says the book… May our sacred imaginations soar.  May our ways of offering compassion multiply exponentially, and may we learn from those who are different from us, from the pain but necessity of social distancing, and from the songs that are lodged deep in our hearts, guiding us to something new.

In Faith,