“One’s most effective work can grow out of first learning to do nothing well.”Backpacking with the Saints, Belden Lane P. 215
Americans only see ourselves as productive if our calendars are full and we are really busy. The pandemic hit this notion hard when we learned that the world did not revolve around our schedules and our desires. Many of us also found out we were considered, “non-essential.” This was truly painful for the artists and entertainers among our ranks. People welcomed “the break” from the maddening pace of life. Others hated the isolation and silence imposed on their world.
What did I learn from the enforced rest and slow time? Friendships require time and attention to nurture. Communication through personal contact is highly underrated and yet vital to our well-being. We will fight to express our opinions perhaps because of our fear of being wrong. Grief and loss will mount on our shoulders and take residence there. Some experiences can never be recaptured – a graduation, birthday, anniversary or funeral.
Weekly, I spend time in Contemplative prayer, staying silent for 20-30 minutes with only one word or phrase on my mind and tongue. I sit with my husband and family and create time for the unexpected events on my calendar. I desire to maintain at least one day a week that has nothing on the calendar except for food, rest, and reflection – call it a Sabbath. I spend one day a month in silence and solitude for 6 hours to truly listen to nature and the whispers of the Holy Spirit in my heart and on the pages of my journal. I have learned to do nothing well.
Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, and also obedience. You hear the prayer in it all. We all arrive at your doorstep sooner or later, loaded with guilt, Our sins too much for us— but you get rid of them once and for all. Blessed are the chosen! Blessed the guest at home in your place! We expect our fill of good things in your house, your heavenly manse. All your salvation wonders are on display in your trophy room. Earth-Tamer, Ocean-Pourer, Mountain-Maker, Hill-Dresser, Muzzler of sea storm and wave crash, of mobs in noisy riot— Far and wide they’ll come to a stop, they’ll stare in awe, in wonder. Dawn and dusk take turns calling, “Come and worship.” Psalms 65:1-8 The Message