It’s pretty desolate outside today. It’s overcast, raining, and it doesn’t seem like we’re gonna get a glimpse of the sun anytime soon. This kind of day is common in late spring/early summer. It’s a day like this when I’m reminded of something that’s easy to forget.
Three weeks ago, on a day very much like today, my band and I played a funeral for a young man who was killed in a car crash. It was one of the toughest events we have ever had to play for. There was not a dry eye in the whole church.
The priest gave a very powerful sermon that morning, one that, more than anything, stressed the importance of community in a time of grief and loss. It resonated very well with the man’s family and his friends, and many were consoled by his words and the company of the people around them.
However the part of Father’s sermon that resonated the most with me was when he stated how important it was to “Be Still.” It was only a brief mention, and not a main point in his sermon. But it seemed to strike a nerve in me. That’s because over the past few months or so, I’ve forgotten how to be still. Like many people in our culture today, my mind is constantly racing with thoughts, and is never truly at rest. As a result, I become stressed very easily, even when there is very little going on.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve heard the words “Be Still” and actually let it resonate in my mind the way it did that day. It’s been a long time since I let my mind drift into a place of true solitude, and let the rest of the world go by while I took a moment in my own sacred space to truly be at peace. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to do it anymore. My world is full of distractions, like my phone, my iPad, my job, the Internet, and constantly worrying about the future.
It’s almost impossible these days to be still with all these distractions. Our would moves a mile a minute, and too many people believe that there is no time to let themselves settle down for a moment. They think that they have to keep up with the world, as if life is a cutthroat competition, and the only way to win is to keep up with everyone else.
Far too many people try to live up to these big, unrealistic expectations of themselves, and this result is the most common source of pain in our culture. It’s a feeling of inadequacy. You’re comparing yourself to others, and more often than not, you’re coming up short. But that’s not what life is about.
I once heard someone say that there are two kinds of tired. There’s a “good” tired, and there’s a “bad” tired. The “bad” tired occurs after a day that you’ve won, ironically. But it’s bad because you won someone else’s battles, and lived someone else’s day, and achieved someone else’s dreams. And when its all over, theres not a lot of “you” in there. And when you go to bed at night, you can’t settle easy. You toss and turn. The “good” tired occurs after a day that you’ve lost. Again, it’s ironic, but it doesn’t matter that you’ve lost the day because you fought you own battle, you lived your own day, and you chased your own dreams. And when you go to bed at night, you’re relaxed, and you can settle easily into a peaceful night’s sleep.
Days like these remind me to take a moment in a fast-paced world to look at who I am and what race I am running. Am I trying to stay true to myself, or am I trying to be someone else? Am I truly happy with where I am right now, or am I just going through the motions? Am I working to be true to who I am, or am I trying to please others?
These questions are hard ones to answer. The only way you really can is by not truly asking them. You need to simply take time to let your mind be at rest, and eventually, they will be answered. In a moment you’ll realize what you are doing. Maybe you’ll be called to do something completely different, or maybe you’ll simply need to pour more of yourself into what you’re already doing. The only way you’ll ever truly know for sure, is to take time to truly be still.