The Importance of Being Still

Lately I have been running full speed ahead.  I have had twice the workload at the office over the past two weeks.  And springtime at the farm means there are mares and cows to breed and of course hay to cut.  All of these things are secondary to my family life which is also on high speed. 

Having an almost-2-year-old daughter means she is full of energy and her own agenda.  She can now tell us what she wants and what she doesn’t want.  She loves to watch her favorite TV show but hates to sit still very long.  So even if we try to relax and sit down to watch a show, she continues to buzz around–picking up toys, trying to jump on the couch, or asking us to bring her milk.  The only time I find that I can catch up on the house chores is when she is in bed.  Luckily she maintains a fairly consistent bedtime which leaves me with one to two hours to wash dishes, do laundry, and so forth. 

I have realized that all of these responsibilities are great in that I stay busy and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the week.  But I learned an important lesson about constant motion this morning. 

I admit I have been feeling a bit harried over the past several days.  Various frustrations have caused me to feel more agitated and unsettled than usual.  After working until 9:30 last night, I was able to put my daughter down to a very late bedtime.  While I was a little worried about her not getting enough sleep, I was glad to be able to cuddle her, say our prayers and tuck her in.  The nights that I have missed those moments have left me feeling slightly incomplete.  Then this morning she awoke earlier than normal.  At first, her daddy went to check on her but she wanted her mommy.  I took her and tried to settle her and even asked her if she wanted to “go back night-night.”  She said no and continued to cry and be upset.  (Our girl is usually a very happy toddler.)  Finally I asked her if her mouth was hurting and she said, “uh-huh.”  I asked if I should kiss it and she pulled her pacifier out and leaned in for mommy’s healing kiss.  She settled a little after that so I sat down in the rocker with her to hold her for a minute.  As I mentioned earlier, this child has never been the type to sit still very long.  But this morning she reminded me of a very important part of life:  we must remember to take the time to be still. 

Being still is the basis of meditation.  Zen.  Yoga.  Etcera.  There are a lot of people that spend a lot of money on gurus telling them how to find these moments in their lives.  My little girl sat with me this morning and laid her head on my shoulder.  I wrapped my arms around her and held her as we found mutual comfort on a quiet, dark morning.  I’m not sure how long we sat there but when I stood up with her, her tears were dry and we both knew we had found what we were needing, not by seeking it out but by stopping for those precious moments just to be still.