Serendipity: Making an unexpected or delightful discovery(Photo of riders on the Over-the-jumps Arkansas carousel in the 1930's)
"9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.
10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!"
~Psalm 46:9-11 (Amplified Bible)~
When I was a child a trip to the zoo meant a ride on the merry-go-round. There was an amusement park across the street from the zoo where the sound of the calliope drifted across the air and heightened the anticipation of exiting the zoo when the ride would take place.
( Restored Over~The~Jumps Carousel at the Little Rock, AR Zoo)
The unusually large wooden carousel not only went in circles with the horses going up and down in time with the music, the floor of the ride was shaped like large waves so that the you rode the crest of each one as your colorfully painted steed sped forward, round and round, up and down, over the waves. And yes, there was a real brass ring to grab for. I was never content to sit still in one of the swan benches and just enjoy the ride. I wanted action, movement, and motion. I also wanted to try and grab that brass ring. If you were able to grab the ring, there was a prize.In our busy goal~oriented action~based society, stillness is not something we are accustomed to. It seems we are on the merry~go~round ride of life reaching to grab the brass ring to win the prize. We never cease from circling. Life moves forward with its ups and downs like the horses on the ride. We want action, movement, motion, and we are never content to just sit still and be. Even in our faith we are striving to serve.Stillness is defined as a hush, tranquil silence, calmness without winds, motionless. How often do we really take time out from the rush of life to hush our minds, our emotions, or our bodies? How often do we cease from fretting when the winds of life buffet us? How often are we motionless? How often do we withdraw into the arms of the Lord and experience true tranquil silence of heart, mind, body, and emotion? How often are we willing to make the choice to dismount, to cease from grabbing for the brass ring, to stop trying to win an earthly prize, and just be content to sit in the swan seat and enjoy the ride in tranquil silence?As a child I knew how to enjoy the ride and wildly anticipated it. I was always sad when it ended. But, I always knew I had it to look forward to the next time we visited the zoo. The pauses in between the rides were ones in which the sound of the calliope still called to me mount up and take a ride but distance and location prevented me from doing so. It is the same with practicing stillness, the sound of life will still pull, tug, and call to you to come and take a ride. The key to stillness is to distance and location.To find your "swan seat" on life's ride, distance yourself, if even for a few brief moments, from the ride and withdraw to a quite place and cease all motion. Allow your heart, mind, body, and emotions to relax and rest. Pausing and practicing stillness for just ten minutes per day will ready you for the next ride on life's merry-go-round. Sit in silence with the Lord, let Him handle your war, let be and be still, know (understand and recognize) that He is God. Through your acknowledgment, He will be exalted and you will be refreshed, restored, and ready, even possibly anticipating, the next ride.
(Swan photos taken at Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, MO)
I was beyond sad when the amusement park closed and my beloved merry-go-round was sold to a private collector. This week I learned that it had been completely restored and donated to the zoo. It now stands just inside the zoo entrance, calliope music calling to one and all who enter to come and take a ride. For old times sake, the next time I visit the zoo, I think I will take a ride on the merry-go-round, only this time I will chose a swan seat, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
P.S. Did you know that swans are a symbol of love and fidelity? Our stillness in the presence of the Lord symbolizes the same thing. Pause, and calmly think of that.