I’m Learning To Be Still

God & Man

Nothing stays the same—this is what I’ve discovered in growing up. And of course I knew this, but I continually fight it. I want to understand. I want to make sense of what is happening around me. I want to know where I’m headed and see beyond the present. I want to go and go and go and rush and take everything in, taste it, spin it around in my mind until I get dizzy.

But something I’m learning is how to slow down.
Something I’m learning is how to be still.

I’m learning to quiet the rushing thoughts in my head. I’m learning to close my eyes and breathe deeply, smell the earth, the sky, the hint of flowery perfume, the bagel shop down the street, the cotton of clean clothes, the sticky-sweet fruit from the outdoor market.

I’m learning to let life happen—to me and around me—and smile, even through the storm. I’m learning that you cannot have answers held in the palm of your hand or written somewhere on a sheet of scrap paper, ready to be pulled from your pocket and read when life seems to stray from its path.

I’m learning that sometimes what you know will drastically change, and you will only exhaust yourself trying to keep up, trying to run when you’re only meant to walk, trying to make people love you when they’re meant to be set free.

I’m learning to be still.

I’m learning to close my eyes and slow down time, make a moment stay, instead of letting it so quickly fade into a memory. I’m learning to relish in the present, to hold onto it for as long as I can and quit looking ahead to the next adventure, next thing, next item on my list.

I’m learning that I cannot rush—my decisions, God’s plans, or the feelings written on someone else’s heart. I do not have control of this; I must trust, let go, and let life play out.

I am a character in the movie, not a director, not the one who can rewrite the script or know what’s coming, no matter how hard I try to. And I am learning to trust in this.

I’m learning to stand on solid ground and quit fighting the natural course of events, quit being so damn stubborn when what I think should happen doesn’t, or when what does doesn’t match up with my pre-written plan in the slightest.

I’m learning that stillness doesn’t mean a perfect life, but it does give me peace. And I’m learning that when I stop running wild, stop letting myself be pulled in three different directions, stop thinking I have to know everything—I am in-tune with the people around me, stronger in my faith, and more focused on the people and things that really matter.

I’m learning that when I am still I am not static, but strong. I am prepared. I am whole and have regained my sense of self. I’m learning that when I am still, I am not looking at what’s to come, but celebrating what is, and ready for whatever God has planned for me next.

I am learning that life is even more beautiful when I stop trying to have the answers, when I stop trying to write my own path, when I stop trying to continually be something, be somewhere, and instead just be.

I’m learning to be still. TC mark

Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.

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