To Welcome Her Stillness

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Late Autumn in Indiana - Photo by Marg HerderThe wind picks up a little.  The birds stop singing so loudly, the squirrels get serious about finding and hiding their winter food, no longer running and playing in the trees.  The bugs, who have been singing all day, grow quieter and finally become silent in the chill of the evening.  There’s still a flurry of activity in the day, but at night stillness senses an opening and begins to settle in.

Mystery is returning to the world, and all of creation is preparing for Her unfolding.

Now, while the trees are flaming into beautiful color, while the clear light is still mellowed by green grass and thick clouds, I put on my sweatshirt and move around outside.  I make sure that the grass is cut one last time, and the gardening tools are all cleaned and put away.  There are leaves to rake and gutters to clean.  There are storm doors to change.  Lisa will bring in the house plants; I’ll cover the patio furniture.

Autumn has come and I’ve got to make sure the work gets done.

And here’s what happens.  I go right from the stacked up events and tasks of summer to the blur of the holiday season.  Sometime in January I fall from the sky in the middle of winter, exhausted, wondering what just happened.  That’s when I realize, once again, I all but missed the holy time when things are gloriously passing away.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with being intentional in my life.  I get hypnotized by the thousand things constantly clamoring for my attention.  Emails, appointments, work that just won’t quit, texts, dinner to be made, dogs to be walked, phone calls I have to take.

In the back of my mind I hear Her whisper, asking me to stop, asking me to notice, asking me to turn my attention away from devices and expectations, to turn instead to Her, enter into Her mystery, and move toward Her stillness with the rest of creation.  Yes, I hear Her, but I swear, I am wrapped up so tightly in “doing” that it feels as though my entire world would collapse if I were to let go of the thousand tasks I am juggling.

How ironic it is that the thought of moving toward Her feels like walking away from everything.

In any other relationship my inattention and infidelity would be cause for anger and accusations.  But She just patiently continues to whisper.  “Here I am, here you are, here.”

Fall reminds me that I do not determine the seasons.  I don’t decide on the light and the darkness.  I only determine the manner of my preparation and the attitude of my expectation.

So much of this must be naked trust, walking away from the stack of tasks, walking into the stillness. This is not a responsible choice.  This is not a logical choice.  This is not the right choice.  If we are to belong to Her, this is not a choice at all.

So now I share with you my Autumn promise, my prayer.

Each day I will drop my head and open my arms, freeing my heart to Her, knowing that She creates the same beauty and wonder through my being as She does in the life surrounding me.

I will harvest the ripe fruit I have neglected on the vine.

I will act as if the thousand tasks can wait, until I know that they can.

I will stop, and notice Her startling beauty everywhere.

I will prepare myself. And this year I will be present to welcome Her stillness and mystery.

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Marg Herder
Marg Herder is the Director of Public Information for EEWC-CFT, a Christian feminist organization working for gender (and LGBTQIA) justice in Christianity since 1974. She is the content manager and developer of the organization’s website, Christian Feminism Today. Marg identifies as a trans* lesbian writer, musician, and feminist spiritual seeker. She works to draws attention to the ongoing violence directed at women and LGBTQIA people in this “Christian” society, the desperate need for an understanding of God that includes the Divine Feminine, and Christ/Sophia’s desire that each of us move deeper into our own practice of non-violence.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks to each of you, Melanie, Christine, Dan, and Lisa. Each of you, in entirely different ways, has had a hand in teaching me and supporting me as I try to surrender to Her in my life. I am deeply grateful for the kindness of your words.

  2. Marg, This is a beautiful article. I can really identify with your description of preparation for winter. I have been working so hard to beat the snow that I can sometimes forget to be still. What a great reminder that life is so much fuller when we let Her in. This is an article that I need to print and hang in my workshop as a constant reminder. Thank you!

  3. Marg, this is glorious. We should follow nature and return to stillness rather than do the complete opposite. What a beautiful reminder. Your words have really moved me and I lack them in expressing all of feelings and thoughts. Thank you.

  4. Marg, This is so lovely and evocative: “moving toward Her feels like walking away from everything.” Damn straight, but also really scary. Thank you for reminding me to stop and look around. I’d plan to do that over Christmas break, but need to be intentional about doing that right now. (And this piece also makes me miss seeing you, and Lisa. Wishing you all lived closer.)

  5. I love this (exclamation point). I hope to work this into class Saturday as well as incorporate into my daily meditation prayer time. Thank you for your wisdom.

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