Written by Steven Liechty
Dwight Lee Wolter
"Be still and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10
"I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy."
- 59th St. Bridge Song, Paul Simon
The first church I joined was a swirling vortex of activity that accomplished much that was good. Everyone was busy and involved. We were always planning something, repairing something, cooking something and raising money for something. "Idle hands are the devil’s workshop," someone lovingly said as she smiled and handed me a potato peeler.
And then one day on a bike ride to the end of a public pier, I saw a man who attends our church. He was fishing. "Catching anything?" I asked. "Never" he replied. "Why would you fish in a place where there are no fish?" I grunted. "Because this is where I get my best non-thinking done," he said as he cast and slowly reeled-in his line.
There is great benefit in keeping busy with noble, creative and worthwhile projects and programs. There is also great benefit in doing fewer things, and doing them more slowly and consciously. If "idle hands are the devil’s workshop," then so too, perhaps, are busy hands engaged in constant activity that may lose its meaning and luster because of the numbing effect of… constant activity.
Racing from one well-intended thing to another, I sometimes remember to pause and visualize a "speed bump" in my soul that forewarns me that if I travel too quickly on that part of the journey, I run the risk of losing my spiritual transmission.
Some of my most cherished journeys were to nowhere, where I accomplished nothing in particular, and yet, somehow, through the grace of God, I managed to arrive at the place I needed to be: casting and reeling in stillness to my soul.
Precious Lord, Help me to be. Help me to be still. Help me to be still and know. Help me to be still and know that I am. Help me to be still and know that you are God.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of several books, including A Life Worth Waiting For! and Forgiving Our Grownup Children (Pilgrim Press). He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.