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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Life, family, and everything else | 29 comments

The Importance of Being Still

The Importance of Being Still


I think about a lot of things.

I think about books—books I’m writing, books I’m reading, books you couldn’t pay me to read. I think about chicken salad and guitar intros.

I think about frustrations, regrets, mistakes, and lessons I would rather not have learned. Way too often, I think about what other people think about me.

But right now it’s somewhere around ten PM, and I’m not really thinking about anything.Β 

I can’t remember what I came out here on the porch for. Does it matter? Probably not as much as what I’m doing right now, which is sitting in a porch chair with a threadbare cushion, listening to our thirty-something acres shifting around like it can’t get comfortable in the sandy Oklahoma dirt.

The big greenish light mounted on the power pole near the house throwsΒ shadows around the yard, stealing thunder from tonight’s half-moon. My bare feet are propped up on the seat of another chair; one of the cats jumps up onto my legs and wobbles like a toddler trying to stand on an exercise ball.

I don’t like cats. I don’t like them standing on me. But pushing this one off seems like it would upset the delicate balance of harmony in this scene, so I’m okay with it, just this once. The cat can stay. I even pat its head. Just this once. Don’t get any ideas, cat.

With my toes getting chilly and a fuzzy animal standing on my kneecaps, I think about God.

Which I do a lot, sometimes with a good dose of frustration. I try to analyze His movements, like second-guessing an opponent in a chess game. I complain at Him. I ask whiny questions about why my life isn’t going the way I wanted. Sometimes when I don’t hear back soon enough, I put a face on Him and make Him talk, like a puppet. It’s not the most satisfying of conversations.

But right now, in this still moment of time, I’m thinking about God without any of my agendas or anxieties coloring the filter of my ponderings. For a moment, all the little distractions that pollute my mind have stopped their clamoring, and I can see the pure, raw, universe-shattering love of my Creator, as clear and unobstructed as the wispy trail of Milky Way stretching out above me.

My thoughts move slower, digesting snippets of childlike truth that are so simple, yet infinitely complex and wonderful.

God is good.

Love is good.

Cats are soft.

The universe is big.

I am small.

I am loved.

I guess I’m praying, in a way. Not asking for anything, not trying to word my request in such a way to impress God with my fake sincerity or large vocabulary. Just being small, and being still, and soaking in the few things I happen to know are true for sure.

The cat is now simultaneously nibbling on my toes and trying to clean out my left nostril with the end of its tail. I divert the tail somewhere less ticklish. It doesn’t really bother me–the cat is part of the moment, just as much as the Milky Way and the cedars creaking and my cold sockless feet. It’s all fantastic.

I think we need these moments. Of quietness, of thought without thinking. Just to Be Still and Know.

I wonder why I don’t have more moments like this. I should carve out a place in my daily schedule, my Be Still time. But I don’t think it works like that. I think moments like this one only come along when you’re not looking. And then you have to grab on, and let them pull you out of whatever worries and distractions are tugging you in the other direction, and hold on as long as it lasts.

And then treasure that moment. And remember it. And maybe, say a quick, quiet Thank You, because I don’t think these things happen by accident.


photo credit: Billy Wilson Photography via photopin cc


  1. I love this one!
    You have a huge yard, do you live on a farm? My yard is teeny tiny compared to yours haha
    Also I don’t like cats either :p

    • I guess it’s sort of a farm? We have cows and stuff. :p

      • Do you grow veggies? And do you have to get up at the crack of dawn?

  2. I love your way of putting things, easy to read and it makes perfect sense. πŸ™‚
    I should do this more often, long walks in the prarie, just slowing down- wish we had a front porch.

    • Everyone should have a front porch. Or a back porch. Porches are awesome.
      And thank you. πŸ™‚

  3. I loved reading this Braden…very, very good!

    • Thanks, Tera! ^_^

  4. “…listening to our thirty-something acres shifting around like it can’t get comfortable in the sandy Oklahoma dirt” – this is the best line I’ve read in ages.

    • I thought the same thing, Katie. πŸ™‚

    • Woohoo! I was hoping that was good. :p Thanks a bunch.

  5. I agree with K. M. Weiland. Worth keeping.

    • Thanks, Rachel!

  6. This made me happy, Braden. In a way that challenges my conceptions about life a little and makes me wish I had more moments like that. I think you’re right: we can’t force them or schedule them into a convenient moment. But we CAN treasure them when God sees fit to send them our way. Thanks!

    • I’m glad! Treasuring the right stuff is key. πŸ˜‰

  7. I just kept reading aloud your sentences to anyone who would hear… Love it, Braden.

    • Aw, thanks! Makes me happy to hear.

  8. I don’t like cats in general, but your cats are good mousers and deserve a break now and then. PS Your prose takes me back 27 years.

    • Very true! I should appreciate the fruits of their labor.
      And I guess that’s a good thing? :p

  9. Your cats sound like our cats. πŸ™‚ I love cats in windows. They seem to say things no one else can. Like you and your porch and your thirty-some acres, cats in windows bring everything into perspective for me. Funny how ordinary, simple things do that sometimes. πŸ™‚

    • Exactly! Little ordinary vignettes that make us slow down and go “whoa, there’s COOL STUFF here.” We all have ’em.

  10. This is absolutely beautiful and I identify 100%. Well, actually, make that 99%, considering that I don’t have a cat to climb on me at the moment. I used to have many cats, though. Cats are soft.

    Seriously, though. It’s amazing the how the complexity of things like God and the universe can be revealed through thoughts as simple as that. As purely, perfectly ordinary as realizing that cats are soft, even if they’re annoying. More often than not, my thoughts take a long time to ferment before I can feel comfortable revealing them to anyone, but when I really take time to think about it (see, look at that XD), they are often just like this. Simple. And yet not so simple.

    Fabulous post, as usual. ^_^

    • Thanks, Emily! And yeah. Complex is so simple, and simple is complex, and life is both of those. πŸ™‚

  11. Wow, that was really good . . . It really spoke to me. Thanks.

    • Glad to hear it!

  12. You’re amazing πŸ™‚ Enjoyed reading this! Thanks for the reminder to BE Still.

    • Thanks, Anna! It’s a reminder I need myself, often and repeatedly. πŸ™‚

  13. I needed this. Like, really. Thank you. πŸ™‚

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