An Invitation To ‘Be’

It’s a black and white day in the city.

Charcoal high-rises ascend and stand out against an all white, sunless sky. The most color I’ve seen today were red, wet umbrellas and bright green, inter-borough taxis weaving in and out of traffic. New York City on a damp and rainy day, but no less busy than when the day is bright and dry. The pace of the city is furious. If you’re not accustomed to it, you can trip under it’s thunderous velocity and be trampled upon like yesterday’s Daily News.

It is said that time waits for no one. I think there are exceptions. Places like Montana, where you can gaze on wild animals feeding off the land in the open silence of the plains. Those are still, motionless moments. Time seemingly stands still there. But here, in the City, time is barreling past us all and causing each city-dweller to take personal inventory of what they’ve accomplished in their 24-hour allotment.

Benjamin Franklin said that “time is money.” If you have accomplished turning your time into money, here in the city, you are celebrated. If your time is not converted into admirable accolades, you are ignored.

The value of a man or woman, especially here, is doing…not being.

To turn this madness completely on it’s head, God makes a simple demand of us that, in its simplicity, is difficult to grasp given the complicated whirlwind we find ourselves in:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

This valuation of mankind that–up until this directive–stressed doing over being is cancelled out by the God who now says BE, don’t do.

Be still.

Be still and take inventory of who I am.

Think on the limitless ways I have lavished you with grace and mercy in large and small ways. Picture me walking with you when you thought you walked alone. Imagine the vastness of the universe, if you can, and know–just know–that it is as nothing before me. Think upon me–enlarge me in your thoughts–and minimize your worries. Bless my name, exalt me, and just…..know.

BE still.

Don’t DO anything to earn awareness of me.

Just know that I Am.

This careful reflection and embracing of His magnanimous enormity is life altering. And yet, ironically, it causes things to happen–out of sheer stillness.

These are some pretty lofty thoughts to behold while walking in urban American streets with a latte in hand, catching glimpses of billboards out of my peripheral vision, seeing countless, diverse people pass me by, on what would normally be a regular rainy, wet NYC day.

Obviously, the last thing on anyone’s mind, is being still, much less knowing God. But therein lies the necessity of such a call to pondering. The call to drink from rivers of peace, that satiate and make alive that which was formerly dead on the inside.

I reach my destination. Enter the elevator, doors close and the ascension to my work day begins. The elevator is quiet as it glides swiftly past every floor uninterrupted toward my floor. I’m thinking being still and knowing God is probably like this elevator ride in some ways.

Stop. Reflect. Know. Ascend.

I guess it’s in the quiet of the night that the battles of the day are overcome. And in stillness that we rise above.

Bell sounds. Doors open. New day.

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

T.S. Eliot

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