Standing in Grand Central Terminal in New York, I had wanted to capture something of the hubbub of the place. There were so very many people there and they were all seemingly on the go. I had wanted to make an image which was able to make them stop for just a moment, while also capturing something of that activity. So, I used a slightly slower shutter speed – and this froze everyone quite nicely, while retaining a sense of the movement of the people.
What a whirl of feverish activity! What busy lives! We never stop! There is always somewhere to go, something to be done once we arrive there, and then more to do once we return. It’s all about the doing. Except, it isn’t all about the activity of doing. Sometimes – in fact, far more often than we might imagine – it is not about ‘doing‘. Rather, it is about ‘being’.
Genesis tells us that after the work of Creation, on the seventh day the Lord rested. He was then able to survey what He had done and to determine that it was not only ‘good’ but ‘very good’.
There is a lesson for us in that resting.
We can all too easily begin to idolise activity, the busyness of always ‘doing’. Doing is about putting something of ourselves into everything else. It is, then, ultimately about us. Being is just the opposite – it is allowing something else to enter into us and to achieve something once there. Often, that ‘something’ is God.
A moment of stillness, of calm and quiet, is generally needed for us to stop long enough to hear something of the Lord, Who whispers to us quietly in the rustling of the breeze; we can be so utterly active and busy that it takes a hurricane for us to notice His presence – the gentle breeze passes us by without notice.
I am as prone to this as anyone else, needless to say.
There are many days when I have a great deal to do and to achieve, so that I – almost – forget to just stop and to be still. And yet I know how crucial that stopping and that stillness really are. I cannot function without them. Those moments are the battery which powers everything else. I cherish those moments and I guard them jealously.
The prayer of the evening is the most special and most guarded moment of all
For me, those moments are filled with quietness and stillness and prayer. No matter what else the day contains, it always has those moments within it. In the morning, in the afternoon and again in the evening, I stop and I pray.
This is particularly so in the evening – that is the most special and most guarded moment of them all. In that prayer of the evening, the day has already been filled with everything else, so this moment is the one in which I can bring it all to the Lord, handing it over to Him that He might do with it whatever He chooses to do.
Once I have done this, I can then continue and think about moving into the next day. But that moment if prayer is absolutely crucial to me.
Reading this, you may see some similarities in your own life; if so, make a point of just stopping, of being in that moment of stillness and calm which we call prayer.
Give it all to the Lord.