What could be better than a walk around the lake in January? The sun is shining, there’s only a whisper of a breeze and the best part of all…it’s quiet.
After a wonderful homily by Deacon Charlie and delicious lunch with Norman and Helen, Jim and I decided we needed to stretch our legs before the afternoon games. Donning several layers of clothing we headed out to our favorite spot, just a short walk from the house, Conservation Lake.
Conservation Lake, in the summer, is lined with campers and sounds of children playing and grills sizzling fill the air. At night, laugher and campfires crackling can be heard from most sites. But winter time is a different story.
In the winter, all the campers are gone and what’s left are a few geese and a squirrels, a few deer that wander from the fields and woods for a drink and the occasional blue herron.
Today as we walked down the road towards the lake, we scanned the woods for deer or squirrels, the latter of which we saw; the former, we did not. We talked a little about mass and in particular Deacon Charlie’s wife, Donna, who is having a heart cath. tomorrow, so on a side note, please take a moment to send up a prayer for her…it would be greatly appreciated.
But as we approached the lake, we fell into a comfortable silence and listened to…nothing. Oh, there was the occasional honk from the handful of geese swimming around or the bark of a squirrel if we came too close to his tree. But for the most part, stillness surrounded us.
It’s so easy to find God in moments like this when all is calm and peaceful. You can see his handiwork in the evergreens that add color to the winter landscape…in the graceful glide of a goose crossing the lake…in the crisp blue sky with swirls of feather like clouds. Yes, it’s so easy to find him here.
Be still and know that I am God
It’s no coincidence that Jesus, during his ministry, withdrew from the crowds and his disciples to a quiet place to pray. I know for me, to be able to concentrate, I need silence. I’m so easily distracted and whether its prayer or writing, the quietness helps me clear my mind and meditate on the task at hand.
It’s no surprise that Elijah, a prophet of the Lord, was filled with fear and trepidation as he was hunted down by the Israelite army. And when God came to him, first by wind that “tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks” and then by an earthquake, it says the Lord was not in either of these. But it further says “after the fire came a gentle whisper”. And there was God. (I Kings 19)
Whether our distractions are physical, mental or spiritual, or whether they are of our own creation of thrust upon us, the common denominator is the effect they can have upon us. The anxiety and apprehension of stress can really take its toll on us. Physical illness and mental strain can wear at us. I know some days, I feel as if the Israelite army is chasing me down!
Finding a quiet place or a quiet time is an essential part of my life. Even being home all day does not guarantee that I will have either of these. But I know how important it is and how refreshed I am when I make these a priority in my life. This doesn’t mean, of course, that my problems magically disappear. No, they are still there waiting for me. But I feel my ability to face them increases immeasurably when I have lifted the concern to the One who can truly ease my mind.
I remember a line from Saving Private Ryan that Tom Hanks character said. He was in charge of a unit of men searching for a particular soldier and his men were asking him why he never complained about anything to them. Here is part of his response:
“I don’t gripe to you. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up.”
Are there any armies chasing you today? I pray there are not. But if they are, remember Elijah and his predicament. Remember Christ and his method of prayer. Remove yourself to a quiet place and wait…wait on the one who can truly make a difference.
And the peace of God, that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7