The Wild and Peaceful Landscapes of Stillness

Gwen starring out at the vast oceanscape from a barrier island in North CarolinaDuring Sabbatical I had some amazing adventures in experiencing the difference between the stillness I thought I knew about and had studying about and the stillness that patiently lead me to wild and peaceful landscapes within me that I had never seen or even knew existed.There is nothing like being surrounded in stillness by an endless deep ocean and a crisp blue sky that seems to stretch to eternity. I sat still; I stood still, even holding my breath so as not to miss the glory of such a sight. Creation of the Creator unfolding right in from of me and I became a silent witness. What a privilege. I was honored and to this day I hold the honor in my heart.To encounter the Creator at his work while wrapped in stillness is to not remain the same. Stillness gave me the deep awareness that while being a silent witness, being actually present with God in a glorious display of nature right before my eyes, he too was present with me in the landscape of the dark, rugged crevices of piercing grief and suffering . In stillness I experienced my presence with God in beauty and his presence with me in brokenness. We were together and it was good. Nothing fixed or figured out. Nothing healed and made brand new.Stillness gave me an experience with Companionship and Compassion and Comfort. I wasn’t alone with my isolating fears and blinding tears. Stillness ushered me into that mysterious peace that had nothing to do with understanding anything. Stillness granted me the reality of Divine Presence. Stillness let me know God in the midst of what seems to be a godless situation. Stillness made an inviting space for me to know and listen to God say, “Be still and know me”. And I did.Stillness gave me space to listen to the unexpressed voice crying out from my desolate wilderness. This is what I heard:A Prayer for Tommy*Holy, precious, purest angel face,God, please kiss him with your tender grace.Double chinButton nosePerfect little fingersSweetest tiny toes.Holy is this momentLove and sorrow flowsHearts that ache to hold himAre held by One who knows.Tommy Jacob Smith, my fourth grandchild: born March 5,2015—died, March 5, 2015