I learned recently that the original Hebrew root of “Be Still” means to “Let Go” transforming Psalm 46:10 to “Let go and know that I am God”…and then somewhere on the internet I read that “Psalm 46:10 encourages us to reflect on what God can do in the face of what we are unable to do.”…I like this. I’ve been reflecting on this mini-paradigm shift of one of the most powerfully understated passages in scripture the past few weeks and I like where it’s leading me:
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I have stamped this verse on jewelry, printed it on bookmarks and I’ve sung more than a few songs about it over the years and it’s meaning has always centered on a physical stillness for me…be still, be quiet, be calm…but I don’t think I’ve gotten it quite right, especially if it’s root meaning is to “let go”, because life has taught me that the process of letting go varies greatly. Sometimes letting go is clothed in quiet acts of obedience as “be still” might imply but more often than not, my “letting go” is loud. In recent months my letting go has been clothed in deep, guttural groans of grief but in other seasons of my life it has been clothed in shouts of liberating victory!! Sometimes it’s wrapped in such promise and sometimes the process is strangled by fear. Either way, though, what we are left with is the great I Am! No matter how threatening the storm that is swirling around me may be and no matter what the process of letting go looks like, what God is commanding me to do in this verse is to trust Him…a faith derived from a steady and deep understanding of who I know Him to be. Let Go and know that I AM GOD! Sometimes it’s more empowering for me if I switch it up a bit…Know that I am God and LET GO…let go…let go of trying to figure it all out…let go of the worry or shame or guilt or pain…let go of the manmade safety nets…let go of the faith in things that fall short and disappoint…let go of the fear of uncertainty…let go.
And as it pertains to me specifically in the context of facing my mortality, the process of letting go doesn’t mean to give up or resign myself to a death sentence…no way! Just the opposite! The call to trust God and let go is to let go of all the things that might be hindering me from fully embracing the life I am living RIGHT NOW and the promises of God that continue to be true for me…no matter how threatening the storm is!
Although there is a physical calmness in our household (for which I’m grateful), what I’m striving for is a continued spiritual serenity…an inner calm that creates space for life to be richly lived…for all the Geylings. 🙂 Will you join me in that prayer?
So, this is an emotionally packed week…the big boys are home for spring break (Ya-hoo!), Olivia’s long-awaited lacrosse season is officially underway (Go Chargers!), I celebrated my 52nd birthday last week (Cheers to me) and we get to celebrate Max’s bday together as a family on Saturday (so fun!). It is such a joy to have the boys home…life just feels a little lighter when we’re all together but, at the same time, there is a heaviness for me that is hard to push aside. It’s the strangest thing…how can life be lighter and heavier at the same time? Idk, maybe it’s a separation of heart and mind kind of thing…the laughter and fun we share being together lightens the heart but the thoughts that occupy the mind weigh heavier as we journey the losses together. I’m not sure how it all plays out exactly but the reality is that I feel Rudy’s absence so much more acutely when the 5 of us are together and am left missing him more but I wouldn’t have it any other way because he also feels closer when we’re all together. It’s all so relative.
I had a bit of an existential crisis last week around my birthday. It wasn’t as simple as fretting over turning another year older. No, I was happy to be celebrating another birthday (I would celebrate 40 more without one complaint!) but my crisis was centered more in what felt to be the meaninglessness of it all. Hear me out, I don’t mean in any way to minimize the meaning of the 52 years I’ve lived so far or the value of the years I have left but there is something meaningless for me in the “number” being celebrated because it, too, is relative…AND I don’t mean in the hopeful “5o is the new 30” sort of way. It works the other direction too…especially with ALS. I’ve heard ALS described as an expedited aging process and I’m finding that description to be true. I may have just celebrated my 52nd birthday but I feel more and more like I’m in my 80s as I work hard to navigate the bustling world around me with my growing limitations. When you’re 52 years old and you can barely pull yourself up off the toilet seat or walk down the hallway to the kitchen and back without getting winded, numbers cease to provide an accurate framework of expectation and, therefore, become relative. In short, the number of candles on the birthday cake really doesn’t matter anymore. So, what does matter? Well, I think the knee-jerk response to that question is often “quality over quantity” but even that can fall short depending on what your definition of “quality” is. One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes which is interesting to me because it’s theme is this very subject and I’m experiencing it at a depth never before realized…the author’s questions are my questions and there are no simple answers. I guess it’s time to reread Ecclesiastes. 😉 In the meantime, no more birthdays for me…I’m going to find a way to celebrate EACH day.
Another special gift this week was the opportunity to see Max’s concert choir perform my favorite piece they do at the last stop of their choir tour here in Santa Barbara!!! This is an original piece written by Max’s professor depicting the day of Pentecost…(Acts Chapter 2)…I wish you could experience it in person but here’s a little video sample: Turn up your volume! 😉