"Hush, be still!"
I used to squirm around on the hardwood cracked pews of my Southern Baptist church on Sunday mornings. We always dressed for church. I don't think that's a thing these days, but both my grandmother and mother were members of the usher board. And we dressed for church. Starched dresses, little ankle socks, sweaters, and the occasional Sunday with white gloves.
These memories came flooding back today as I caught a whiff of peppermint candy, which was a staple in a southern black woman's purse.
I thought about my grandmother and the way she carried herself. Proud, all five feet four inches of her. By the time I was twelve, I was taller than she was. But she carried a commanding presence. And she could cook and sew like nobody's business. I remember she always dressed like she had stepped out of a magazine - and she had made most of her clothes.
When I was fifteen, and I had lost a skirt that we wore on our majorette team, I was afraid to tell my mother. That fear was all about not wanting to be punished or for her or my dad to have to purchase another uniform for the majorette squad.
My grandmother the seamstress, offered to make me another one. I was appalled. I didn't want a homemade uniform. What would the other kids, at my ritzy private Lutheran school think? Who had their grandmother make them a majorette uniform. When my grandmother tried to reassure me that it wouldn't look any different, all fifteen years of me said boldly, "Nobody wants an old homemade uniform!"
I promptly quit the team so that I didn't have to wear something I thought would be different. My parents probably to this day have no idea why I ever quit the team.
But my grandmother did. Yet, she never told my mom. I thought about my grandmother today and the life she lived. The hard life she lived in a Jim Crow South and then once she moved North to be closer to her daughter, she couldn't find work as most people didn't hire a seamstress during those days in the "big city."
I thought about how my grandmother must have felt at my outburst. How would anyone feel having their skills, talents, and gifts denied?
As I type these words, tears from long ago roll down my face. I wish I could have that homemade uniform today. It would be invaluable.
When I thought about my grandmother, I remembered what she said to me following my snarky little comment.
"Be Still." And she walked back into her bedroom humming one of her favorite gospel songs. I don't know how badly I hurt her, but I realized that her entire life she had learned to walk with pride in who she knew she was. My little comment didn't take away from her gifts. It didn't take away from the love she had for me. And it didn't take away the lesson she taught me in those two little words. "Be Still."
I thought about those words today. We find those words in Psalm 46:10, which says, "Be Still and Know That I Am God."
We hear them in many churches on Sunday mornings and we can recite them often as we try to calm our nerves when dealing with life situations.
As I thought about what it means to be still and my grandmother's lesson, I was reminded that our external world is created from our internal world. The internal world of our thoughts.
When we see the world around us today, we see violence, hatred, injustice, poverty, inequality and so much more. Yet, we also see love, joy, peace, and hope.
"Be Still," leads us to another "Be" Attitude. What is God asking us? What was my grandmother asking me to do? "Be" Still. This attitude of quiet where love shows up.
The world of injustice, poverty, and hatred is not one where we hate someone's mind. The world of injustice is one made of hate of what we see. We see skin color, sexual orientation, religion, economic status. We see the physical body. No one thinks he hates a mind. The hate, exclusion, and discrimination are of a body that looks different, loves different, and worships differently.
Why is this important? Thought precedes action. Before I can hate you. I must think that I hate you. Before I can discriminate against you, I must think you are deserving of discrimination based on what I see. Before I can love you, I must think I love you. Before I can empower you, I must believe you to be equal to me.
In every instant, we can make a choice. We can choose love or hate. We can choose equity or inequity. We. Can. Choose. Yet, to choose, we must "be still."
To be still doesn't mean I need to sit in a corner, silent without talking. No, it means to quiet your inner voice. To get quiet before you judge. To get still before you assume.
"Be Still," or quiet the inner voice in your mind and hear the voice of love. Hear the voice of God (love). All my grandmother was saying that day was simply, be still and hear what I am offering you. Hear love.
I remember all the times I was told to "Be Still" on those Sunday mornings in church. Be still and hear love.
Be still and hear love and not fear. Be still and hear love and not hate. Be still and hear love and not the many "isms" that cloud our world today.
Today, I offer you the opportunity to quiet your mind, listen deep within, be still, and know love.
And So It Goes...
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"Inspired (In Spirit), we live and move and have our being."
Prayer for the Week
Grant us your blessings of peace and love. When challenges or obstacles arise, help us to remember to "Be Still." Remind us that with You, All Things Are Possible. Remind us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in your image. Amen.
“Be Attitudes of Inclusion” ©2023.
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