Finding Stillness.

I could spend all day at this computer, seriously. Not because I want to and definitely not because I have to. It is just the habit of being caught up in stuff that I deem important. In the greater scheme of things, however, most of it is far from important. I read a really great book last February--and consequently re-read it again in September--called God In My Everything, by Ken Shigematsu. Not only is it a super-practical guide to living a faith-filled life in crazy times, but it opens with a story about the monks in Glendalough, Ireland. I remember trips to this monastic site when I was a child, the old stone buildings transporting me back to “simpler” times. Were those times simpler? Probably not. Can you imagine the cold and the wind of eastern Ireland? Brrrrr! In the book Ken talks about routine and discipline. One of the most memorable passages talk about how the monks would just drop whatever they were doing when the bell for prayers sounded. Whether they were doing manual labour outdoors, or in the middle of daily writings, they had to drop absolutely everything and pray. Sounds easy, right? A couple of days ago myself and my wife had set aside time to spend together over scripture. The time was 17:00. About five minutes beforehand I was sending one of countless emails in a bid to make a huge impression on this world and save the day regarding one of the many, many projects I always get myself into. With about two minutes before our allotted time, I looked at the clock and was still typing. A panic rose up in me because I needed to get this email done. You don't understand here folks, the entire universe would have stopped turning on its axis if this email didn't get sent. And then I remembered the monks. I remembered the importance of carving out the time to spend in devotion. 17:00 came, I closed my laptop. And it felt good. I know what I am like, I would have spent five more minutes and then ten and then twenty...... The result is always greater than the sacrifice, and it's not even a sacrifice. Giving up frantic-typing time in order to be still is truly a game-changer in my day. It's like when I rise at 6:00 to run my 10km, I have never come back and said, “I am so sorry I went and did that.” Finding discipline in a routine does not just happen immediately. Stepping away from the laptop or rising early takes practice and devotion. It is through these practices, though, that we come to know ourselves better, allowing ourselves time to hear deeper answers to our own questions instead of a knee-jerk response. And the email? What email?