Friday, February 22, 2008

Be still and know

Seems like I quote Mikey's Funnies fairly often. I don't know how many of you subscribe to his email newsletter, but I know that it's been a real blessing in my life.

Last night we had an ice storm. Today there is no school in Scott or Fayette County (neighboring county), and even little old Frankfort Independent had a two-hour delay. I assume they're in session by now, but I really don't know for sure. Anyway, we had a pretty bad ice storm several years ago. Trees broke, power was out all over Lexington, the city was pretty much paralyzed. This time, though, there didn't seem to be as much impact.

One thing I always enjoy about the winter storms is the sense of quiet and peace that prevails following the precipitation. I really enjoy waking up to the silent, white world.

Mikey's newsletter today made reference to these silent moments and pauses in our busy lives. I hope you are as blessed by the message as I was.


By Michael A. Halleen

"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Fine restaurants have the right idea. After each course, they serve a small sorbet, something to clear the palate. It is a timeout, a minute or two to let go slowly of what has been and to allow the tongue--and mind--to prepare for the pleasures to come. Too often we live at a fast food pace, moving from one experience to another without reflection, from one encounter to the next without clearing the head. Our lives need more sorbets.

It is in those in-between times that we can put things in perspective, reflect on what has occurred, let the flavors subside before moving on to the next course. I encourage my business clients to take time to celebrate, if only for a minute, a victory of the past week, congratulate one another and consider what contributed to that success, however small. We benefit from contemplating for a moment the conversation we have had before rushing ahead to the next call. And we gain something by allowing ourselves to acknowledge a mistake or missed opportunity, even to feel the pain of a loss, before plunging into the next minute of the day-or phase of life.

Some monastic orders, I am told, have a practice called statio. It means they stop one thing before beginning another. Rather than rush from one activity to the next, they pause and recognize this time between the times. It is an idea which I try to communicate to churches I serve as an interim minister. The gap between pastor leaders can be a beneficial time of reflection and refreshment for a congregation. The Psalm writer suggests that it is in pauses--stillness--that we recognize the reality of God's presence, both in what has passed and in what is yet to come.

The father of cellist Yo-Yo Ma lived in Paris during World War II, holed up alone in a garret during the years of German occupation. In order to restore sanity to his world, he practiced violin pieces by Bach during the day, and through the long night hours of blackout, he played them again in the dark from memory. His son Yo-Yo took up his father's advice to play a Bach suite from memory every night before going to bed. "It isn't practicing," he says, "it's contemplating. You're alone with your soul."

Sorbet...statio...Bach suite. Stop for a moment. Experience stillness. God is there.


You can contact Mike at to be added to his weekly devotional email list, "Monday Moments."

Also check out Mike's book "You Are Rich: Discovering Faith in Everyday Moments": (Amazon info)

Copyright 2008 Dr. Michael A. Halleen. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.


The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success.


Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it!


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