Have you ever noticed how much our lives resemble a freeway? Once we are on it, we are in constant motion. We must remain alert at all times. We speed up, slow down, and switch lanes. We set our eyes straight ahead, look back from time to time, check our side and rear mirrors periodically, do not make any unexpected turns, and get there before the cars all around us. We cannot brake too soon, accelerate too heavily, or cruise too long. We must always be aware of what is going on around us, lest we miss a sign or clue that could have prevented a fatal accident. It is as though we are competing in a race of some kind. One false move and the whole freeway is stopped or slowed down for hours.
This is life. Yet, it is necessary at times that we exit the freeway of life. This is difficult to do since there are so many demands made upon us. And they are relentless demands.
During the last three years of His life, Jesus was also on a freeway. He was so busy at times that He did not take time to eat. Regularly, however, He retired to quiet spots and prayed to His Father. As we travel the freeway of life, we must realize the importance of exiting on occasion and taking time for refreshing.
One of the most important aspects of the spiritual life is the pauses of rest, silences of grace. It is the time we take to open ourselves to receiving divine peace.
What can inspire more tranquility of mind and soul than the realization that peace and self-fulfillment is not dependent on anything external. Nothing in the outer world can produce the peace and happiness that surpasses all human understanding. It is a peace undisturbed by surrounding events and cannot be intruded upon by the fiercest winds of adversity. God's peace has no relationship to the state of our affairs.
The joy in living emanates from the spiritual realities within that flow incessantly through our being like some remarkable elixir. The silent purling waters that flow through us from the Fountain of living waters calms the turbulent spirit and gives quiet to the restless mind.
The peace that flows from God not only transforms us from within but reforms our outer life. He gives us silence and contentment in our minds, regardless of what exists in our outer world. The hustle and bustle of the day drift away as a tender leaf caught in the throes of the wind. The rat race without becomes as distant as the planets and as meaningless as chasing after the wind. Our souls dwell at ease. No outer disturbance can ruffle the "still waters" within.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.