Sit, Stare, Be

A few days ago I had the privilege of putting my beautiful 3 month old daughter to bed. I don’t have the equipment to be in charge of eating and bedtime very often, so this turned out to be a pretty special evening. I got to give her a bottle and rock her to sleep. It was absolutely fantastic. Sitting and watching her slowly fall asleep while she eats. Getting to sit and stare at every detail of her beautiful face….

And it took forever.

It was shockingly difficult to settle down and just be there. Within the first thirty seconds I was looking around the room for way to end the silence. I regretted not having my phone. I wanted anything to occupy my mind. What was I supposed to do, just sit here and stare at her?

Well…yeah!

Once I began to let go of the anxiety of not having any noise or a phone with me, I was able to stop…

slow down…

and enjoy just looking at my beautiful daughter.

It made me think of this Psalm:

I don’t concern myself with matters too great
    or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
    like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
    Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

There is a contentedness to a baby who has just eaten. They aren’t stressed, or worried.  They don’t care what is next on the agenda. They are simply present and perfectly content just looking at you.

But weaning is a practice. It is a discipline.

Just like learning to calm and quiet ourselves.

We have lost the ability to just sit and stare. We want information coming at as at all times. We want to know what is going on everywhere but right here. And we want it fast.

I think this is why we are so fascinated with Twitter. Twitter brings information to us as it happens. We can know what hundreds of people are doing and thinking within seconds.

And this information comes to us in a short, simple form. It requires a quick glance, and not much thought.

The important things in life require us to sit and stare.

We sit and stare at a child, a spouse, a good friend (maybe this one works better over coffee).

We sit and stare at art. We listen to the songs that move us over and over. We retell our favorite stories again and again.

The things that matter in life we have to drink in and sit with as long as we can.

So that’s my challenge for you this weekend.

Stare at what matters.

Enjoy some good art. Go to coffee with a friend. Hold your kids. Go on a date. Get alone with God.

Make room for the important things and stare at them as long as you can. Do the hard work of letting go of the information assault you are used to and just…

sit…

stare…

be.

What are the things in your life that you stare at?

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