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"Being Still"
 
I have pondered the multifaceted meanings of "being still" many times and I have even written about it on occasion. As I think about what it means in this season of my life, I am taken back to 13 1/2 months ago when on any given day at any given moment, John would look around his ICU room with confused eyes and a wrinkled brow. I am almost certain he was desperately reaching out for some semblance of a recognizable space, searching for home. The only things that felt like home in ICU were each other's faces. Sometimes that was enough and other times it simply was not.
 
As I tried to calm him during those times of delirium, I would say both to myself and to him, "I am here. We are here. It is okay." I did not always believe those words, but sometimes a gentle sense of peace, of stillness, would enter our sacred space, if for only a moment. The Spirit would simply amd unequivocally show up. 
 
Being still is a challenge for many of us. It can be maddening, for in stillness, we are pushed to focus on our present moment. This is a blessing normally, but if our present moments are filled with worry, despair, pain or grief, being still can be scary. In order to reach a deeper space of stillness, one must attempt to fully immerse oneself in breathing.
 
The past 13 1/2 months have been hard to say the least. The past 3 have been worse than hard. Breathing is harder than normal, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally. The physical symptoms of grief have taken up residence in my body and have manifested themselves in a cycle of "get sick- get well- get sick- get well." My immune system will eventually recover, but for now, it is compromised. I no longer have denial and shock in my corner to protect me from feelings of great loss. Reality of living life without John is now, well..... Real. 
 
Being still is more difficult now, but not impossible. When I think it is never to be, the Spirit comes and if only for a moment, stillness and a settling of my soul takes up residence. Thanks be to God for gifts that come in gentle whispers of breath. May it be so for all of us.
 
©Mary Beth Beck-Henderson 2018
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Mary Beth,

Al used to look around the ICU and ask, "are we home?"  I would say "no, we have to get you a little stronger and then we can go home".

Never happened.  Hospital let me stay with him the whole time.  I never wanted him to be alone, since he was blind at the end.  I only went home twice to get clothes and get cleaned up.  Then my brother and daughter stayed with him.  I relish the times that I feel the Spirit.  Not as often as I would like.

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I had the opposite experience, with Susan being ill but with no hint of a life threatening condition, and leaving this world in abt 10 min while I sat in the living room downloading a book. 

The stillness I have is meditation. I have a group that does 40 min once a week and I meditate on Susan for abt 25 min every night. A hard swim quiets my mind also. 

Over 9 ms now & still don’t know if I can ever not be sad. 

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Mary Beth,

Years ago I embarked on a study of prayer, and eventually led classes in prayer.  Being still was one of the first and hardest things I had to learn.  I find that we humans have a hard time with it.  Why is it that silence and being still can feel so awkward?  I've seen people in corporate prayer (group settings) shift, cough, and then they just can't stand it, they have to fill that silence with words!  I guess it's part of our nature.  It takes practice, exercise, to learn the art of stillness.  Prayer is not only filling voids with words, it's even more importantly, just being, and listening.  In time we develop the art of stillness...I find practice helps.  If we get away from it, we find ourselves starting all over again at the starting gate.  :)

I love your posts, please keep on sharing with us, they're beautiful and insightful.

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14 hours ago, TomPB said:

Over 9 ms now & still don’t know if I can ever not be sad. 

Over 3 years.  Still wondering the same thing.  Tho I would use the word despair.   Thought the holidays being over would help.  Now everyone is back to their lives.  So now I not only hear about their holidays, I hear about all the new plans for 2018. The burden of trying to find reason to live falls at my feet, yet I can’t find one.  No one can do this for me and it is scary when you can do everything thing else in the tangible world but that.  It might help if I could stop my 24 hour physical pain and complications, but motivation to do that is lacking on my own.  I’m so tired of being alone.  I seem to be cut from a different cloth than other widow/ers.  I’m not developing than lessening of pain.  It keeps getting worse the longer I live in this house with no company, ever.  Dogs don’t count.  It makes me wonder about myself that I take a twisted pleasure if someone I know is having a hard time, tho theirs always resolved quickly.  But I don’t feel so alone feeling bad.  What does that say about me?  

I got an email this morning from a guy we know about how glad he is the holidays are over, he’s over being sick, never felt better so is going south to see family.   His wife is going to Mexico for some craft classes.  Their lives move on.  I’m going to the nursing home to served coffee to a few people and coming home to the same dark and silence.  I don’t even feel I make a difference there anymore with no one to share it with.  Or feeling I HAVE some reason to come home.  

My life has been new beginnings because I had to.   The first year I did great.  These last two even make me feel like an outsider here at times too.  So many of you have found ways or have people that lighten things a bit.  I am glad for you.  I look in the mirror and look so normal.  How can that be?  I’m not that person I see looking back anymore.  Well, I am but in  her head she is not me.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a self pity party.  I could erase most of it, but it’s all I have today.

 

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16 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

I don’t even feel I make a difference there anymore

I'm sure you do make a difference, and just are not aware of it.  I always think about "It's a Wonderful Life", how he's shown what a difference his life has made to others by what things would have been like without him in it.  Most of us aren't aware of the difference we make to others.  Maybe it's because people, us included, sometimes forget to convey it.

 

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