July 28, 2006

Since returning from Massachusetts it’s been one crazy week here. A little bit of fallout left over from last weekend’s Goodboys Invitational to help take care of here, a little bit of A/C and water problems in the house to take care of there. The weather’s been kind of crazy as well – not exactly sunny, but neither cloudy; not as oppressively hot as it was last week, but hardly fall either. The calendar says it’s the middle of summer, but hell, it’s been summer here for three months already, and with the Goodboys Invitational weekend over and the first of August bringing a return to school and heavy traffic around here, I’m not sure what summer really means anything anymore.

Driving into work this morning, I was contemplating how difficult it is to find one’s center when things seem so scattered or in transition. It was then the Eagles’ song “Learn To Be Still” (from their 1994 “Hell Freezes Over” CD) came on the radio, and, as I listened, I couldn’t help but see myself and my current mindset in the lyrics sung by Don Henley:

It’s just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed
You’d give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will learn to be still.

We are like sheep without a shepherd
We don’t know how to be alone
So we wander ’round this desert
And wind up following the wrong gods home
But the flock cries out for another
And they keep answering that bell
And one more starry-eyed messiah
Meets a violent farewell – learn to be still.

Now the flowers in your garden
They don’t smell so sweet
Maybe you’ve forgotten
The heaven lying at your feet

There are so many contradictions
In all these messages we send
(We keep asking) how do I get out of here?
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin’
It’s waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will learn to be still.

The final words Henley repeats over the song’s fade is “keep on running”, and it seems that in “in between” times like this that’s the best one can do. All around me in this valley I share with some 4 million other residents, I see lifestyles being pursued and maintained, relationships being cultivated, communities and families being raised or disintegrating, political races being waged, and all sorts of plans – big and small – being made and dashed. I can’t help but wonder, however, what relevance in the grand scheme of things they all have when, far beyond these borders wars are being waged, humanitarian crises are being ignored, and lunatics in the Far East and in Iran are running the asylum.

Somewhere and somehow, it all means something, with some greater race being run to an unforeseen end. I remember a banner that hung on the wall of my church when I was growing up; it said, “Once in the stillness you will know”. I’m thinking that maybe whatever knowledge that might be is that gained in the very pursuit of that stillness. If so, I have a long pursuit ahead of me, indeed.

Keep on running.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:21 | Comments Off on Learning To Be Still
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