Be Still

It’s 9.35 on Sunday evening & I’m sat in bed, enjoying the sound of nothing except my fingers hitting the keyboard and the bedside clock ticking away.  I feel ensconced in a cocoon of stillness, wrapped up in it, held by it.  The stillness feels divine (with both a capital and a lower case d) because it has been a particularly busy weekend, a crowded and noisy (although thoroughly enjoyable) one.  Quaker meeting this morning was like an oasis of silence in the middle of it all, like the brief silence between songs on a record.  The last forty-eight hours has been full of talking and music and laughter: dance class, giving a paper at a history conference, a jolly & jovial Christmas fayre, a barn dance (combining the booming voice of the caller, very loud music & the sound of 50 odd people dancing away on a wooden floor, all contained with a slightly-too-small village hall), silent meeting, family visiting, evening meeting… Our evening meeting is extremely unusual in that it is a programmed meeting, with a speaker.  We are one of only about three Quaker meetings in Britain to have this as well as the silent meeting; in other countries, it is a far more common practice.  This evening, the speaker had chosen the hymn ‘Be Still’ as part of the meeting.  Singing that, which is a lovely song and refutes all those awful images that people have of hymns being sombre or even dirge-like, signalled a shift: all the noise and the hustle and bustle seemed to melt away, leaving me feeling a lot calmer.  And now, sitting in bed, I feel even calmer.  I feel still.  It’s a good way to be on a Sunday evening – calm and still and quiet, before the noise and clamour and busy-ness of a new week commence in the morning. 

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