A Special Kind of Stillness
In The Light Inside the Dark (p. 119), a story is told where a man hears cries and runs to help. He and a bunch of friends arrive on the scene and the person calling for help dies.
“When everything that could be done was done, and the ambulance called, the group of friends that had run to the scene stood there, just waiting, keeping company with the now dead young man and his world…To wait is good. It gives time for the world to turn and something else to come along. But this waiting extended and spread out. Time had stopped. There was nothing to do in the whole universe. Everything was simple, complete, still; each thing had equal weight. The man felt utterly present….This incomprehensible peace under duress is the taste of the empty world. At such a moment there is nothing to be done and this nothing has to be enough. The intimate attention of the man and his companions is their blessing on their friend, so irrecoverable, so newly dead.”
This is where I am. I have stopped the striving and ambition. I refuse to prepare for some future phase of my life that I may or may not have. I am here. And I am going to make the best of it.
A few days ago, I decided to volunteer at a women’s center on my end of town. They interviewed me and, while there, I signed a confidentiality agreement and a handbook acknowledgment agreement. They seem excited about me. They have some files I could consolidate for them. Also, they want me to help write some paper justifying their existence, showing how the services they provide for local women saves the taxpayers money and are no longer provided by traditional providers that have always done those services. This is right up my alley. I could do this in my sleep.
I have decided that I am going to continue helping this place until either I can no longer provide them any useful service or I move, whichever comes first. I may help them a few months or a few years. I don’t know. What I do know is that I can no longer wait for something in my life to change. And trying to change things myself has been radically unsuccessful. I have never tried so hard and accomplished so little.
I am making the most of the lack of movement in my life. Time has stopped for all, practical purposes. Also, it is January and I am enjoying the deep stillness of winter. On top of it all, there is right now a storm forming called Jonas that will close down most of the eastern seaboard. Thousands of flights have been cancelled in anticipation of it. Nothing is going anywhere, at least for a few days, and people may as well get used to it. I am hunkering down on so many levels.