In the process I began to reflect on my sadness recently in watching human beings going through life with their faces glued to tiny cell phone screens, their thumbs tapping texts, and their eyes pasted on the screen, never looking up. "How much are they missing around them?" I wondered. Is the beauty and the joy of life just passing them by?
In a recent social experiment, a world-class violinist who had played to a packed concert-hall in New York City the night before, set up in a small corner of a subway train station. He played the same thrilling music that patrons had paid $100 per ticket to hear - but nobody stopped to listen. He watched as thousands of people passed by, paying no notice at all, and never hearing the intricate melodies floating around them. Glued to their phones and their watches, they scurried by him in a mad rush of life. One youngster stopped her mother so she could listen; one old woman threw a dollar into the violinist's case and moved on!
The Chazon Ish writes in Emunah v'Bitachon, "When a person with a sensitive soul finds some quiet time to meditate on existence, away from the pulls of desire, astonishment overtakes him. The sight of the heavens above and the earth below fills him with emotion and wonder. The first step might be to do something called 'nothing.' In that pause be prepared to wade into the quiet of a Shabbat, away from the pulls of desire, and be overtaken by something astonishing.
This is what has happened to me in the past year as I have pulled away from all activity on the Shabbat Day (Saturday). Though I meet with my fellowship on Erev Shabbats (Friday evenings) I am refusing now to do anything on Shabbat but sit in my big chair with a warm cup of tea and my Bible, in the Presence of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). He always meets me there - and the experience of learning the Word directly from Him in the stillness is always astonishing! Even the gathering together of people ends up in food preparation, conversation, midrash, and travel. I found that it was zapping all my energy. Being in the silence of my home with the Spirit imparts energy such as I have never known! It has become a time to re-gather physical energy and to be fed spiritually; rather than expending physical energy and feeding everyone else! How can we continue to give life to others when we have no time alone with the Source of Life?
Elizabeth Hoekstra, in her book Be Still, speaks about the Scripture Jeremiah 6:16: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. First, you have to stop and stand still. Quiet enough to hear God's Voice in a whisper or a shout. Still enough to feel His presence in and around you. Second, you have to look. Look at the landscape around you - search for hidden land mines and stumbling blocks. Third, you must ask for direction. Not once, but twice for confirmation. Search the scriptures for the 'ancient paths,' the way God has worked in the past. Fourth, take a step. Walk with faith on the road He points you toward. Fifth, He will grant you rest. No more fruitless searching, no more aimless wanderings. No more taking another and another spin in the revolving door. "
We are far too busy - and B.U.S.Y. means Being Under Satan's Yoke! The enemy of our souls knows if he can keep us so busy and distracted with work, computers, cell phones, television, entertainment, sports, kids' activities, and even church activities, we will never have time to sit at the feet of the Master and hear His Voice.
In Psalm 23, David says, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." Can you find a time in your busy week to "lie down in a green pasture?" Do you wonder what you would do there even if you had time? Would you spend it texting your friends? Or, could you do as the writer suggested above - "the first step might be to do something called nothing. In that pause be prepared to wade into the quiet of a Shabbat, away from the pulls of desire, and be overtaken by something [or Someone] astonishing!"
Be still and know that He is God...
Be still and know...