Several months ago I cleaned off my bookshelves and came across a small book written in 1955. It had belonged to my grandmother, Great Lady, who lived in Louisiana. She left a bookmark in one of the pages.
Instead of putting the small treasure back on the shelf I placed it in the basket by my snuggle chair where I keep my Bible and journal. One quiet afternoon, I told myself, I’ll skim through Great Lady’s book or at least the page where she left the bookmark. It would be a good excuse to stop and breathe and enjoy a cup of tea.
Months passed. The book collected a fine layer of red Maui dust because I was far too busy to sit and read. Who has time to make a cup of tea?
I know I am not the only woman who finds herself quickly drowning in a world of noise and demands and information. So much information. Lately the abundance of suggestions, opinions, advice, requests, emails, notices and text messages have been overwhelming. Has it been that way for you, too? It does not let up day or night, 365 days a year.
Here’s what I discovered. Resetting my spirit is an art and I must be intentional about it. My heart and mind need to be recalibrated and calmed. It doesn’t happen naturally.
A few days ago I intentionally took a break. I stopped typing in the middle of an email. I stepped away from the computer. I put the kettle on and made a cup of tea. Then I sat in my snuggle chair and opened up Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg. Anne’s famous husband, Charles Lindberg is buried here on the rainy side of this island. He grave is in a beautiful, peaceful church yard.
Anne Lindberg knew the rush of a busy life filled with golden moments and with tragedy. Her little book reflects thoughts on what women need to feed their soul. This is the page that held Great Lady’s homemade bookmark. This is the paragraph my grandmother marked:
Life today in America is based on ever widening circle of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national and international demands, through social and cultural pressures, through the mass media.
My mind reels with it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.
Whoa! Those words were written 60 years ago. My grandmother marked them. What was true for her decades ago has only multiplied many times over in this generation.
A few pages later I found another paragraph Great Lady had marked.
Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill a vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place.
Resetting my spirit is an art. When the noise stops, is there inner music in my soul?
Today my prayer was from Psalm 51:10.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
I’m pausing this week. I’m stopping and stepping away. I’m listening.