Still, Cool Pools of Serenity


We seem to run faster and faster every day, but what is it we are running toward?

Phones ringing, coffee spilling, sirens screaming, people shouting, heels clicking, people asking, expecting, more people bothering, and tasks piling. The morning’s quiet, calm serenity is quickly erased as we begin to go about the business of our day.

For most, the modern world is full of noise and a ceaseless stream of busyness where each task to be completed is just replaced by two more. The days, weeks, months and years begin to run together until you don’t even notice the passage of time anymore. Life becomes what it is and the dreams of youth slowly but surely wither away as bills get paid, laundry gets done, and the mundane tasks become the focus of our minds and our bodies.

We are running so fast, going and going, but what is it that we are running towards? Certainly we are going towards the future but what does that mean? What does the future hold for us but another endless stream of busyness, the completion of tasks that culminate into the art of getting by? What could we accomplish, what could we witness if we were to get the world to stop for a moment, to stop spinning for just one second? I want to see the world breathe a long drawn-out sigh of contentment and teach us a little something about quietness.

Quietness and respite have been used as spiritual disciplines for centuries. Tranquil stillness is the space in which our minds and bodies can finally reconnect with our spirits and give living water to our withered dreams. Hope is sustained in harmony and peace gives us eyes to see beyond the tasks and duties, beyond what is. Perhaps we are given glimpses into eternity’s secrets, and hear words spoken in languages that only the heart knows. Either way, our souls are mended by the rest born of sweet serenity, clarity, and pause.

Hope allows for trust in what cannot be seen in the ordinary, mundane, dullness of everyday life. Stillness is the pasture for the soul to graze and nourish its trust. The Israelites, under the command of David began to purposefully institutionalize their religion and worship of God in order to cement the power of the state and to accommodate the growing number of its citizens. However, these faithful worshipers never forgot the importance of the personal quiet needed to strengthen and mend the soul. Psalm 131 reflects this desire to pause, and soak in the quiet, trusting presence of something beyond them.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul…
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.

God is often lost within the noise. I seek and yet cannot find because my eyes are no longer lifted towards heaven’s door. My heart and my spirit are on the ground, discouraged and dismissed. Chaos is what occupies my mind and not the loving peace of God. But now I have quieted and calmed my soul. Even within my own chaos hope still lives and the peaceful presence of God comes flooding back into me, lifting my eyes up to what is marvelous and picking my heart up from the ground. It is the hope of God, of knowing that life is more than the endless lists of tasks that stills the inner, twisting violence of thoughts, worries, goals, and responsibilities. Be quiet, dear heart; breathe deep and long, soul, and find comfort in your God, who has gone before you in all things. “Hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.” 

Written by Sarah Dannemiller

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