I've recently begun reading Ruth Haley Barton's Invitation to Solitude and Silence. It seems especially appropriate for the Lenten season since I'm more in the mode for reflection anyway. And I'm finding that Barton has a lot to say that speaks to my life. She shares how in the midst of a hectic and busy schedule as a mom, church staffer and seminarian she found herself floundering spiritually. When she finally sought the help of a spiritual director, this is how that director summed it up: "Ruth, you are like a jar of river water all shaken up. What you need is to sit still long enough that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear".
That image has stuck with me. I'm in much the same boat. Busy with home and work, church and hobbies, I rarely take time to sit unless I'm reading or eating. And those things don't bring an inner stillness.
So I've been starting to practice silence, trying to learn to still my body, my thoughts, and perhaps eventually, my soul. In that practice a new image surfaced that describes my current inner state: a boat, unanchored and adrift in open water. Oftentimes recently I've found myself wandering my house, lighting on one task briefly, then drifting on to another. My days sometimes lack focus and purpose. The unsettled river water keeps the boat drifting. All the more reason to continue practicing silence. My soul needs that settling. And in some ways I don't think the concept is not too much unlike the idea of fallowing that L.L. Barkat has suggested on her blog.
Is your soul anchored? Or are you adrift?
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf." Hebrews 6:19-20a