I remember weekends with my father, him in his chair, me scurrying around the house. He enjoyed watching TV, especially tennis, golf and old movies. If I wanted for us to be together, there was only one thing to do: I could sit in the chair next to his, quietly, and watch TV with him. I had to slow down my rhythms. I even had to slow down my mind, because this was no opportunity to talk. He didn’t like interruptions. But since I did enjoy being with him, I often plopped down for an hour or two. Sometimes I even brought a book.
In short, if I wanted to be with my dad, I had to learn to sit next to him and remain quiet. In time, I learned to appreciate his calmness, his stillness, his silence. It felt reassuring to be near him. He was a Steady Eddie, a fixed point in an unstable world.
I often think of this with gratitude as I walk along the spiritual path. A lot of us want to be with God, but we don’t know how. We think He doesn’t exist because we can’t hear, see, or touch Him. But if we get quiet… really quiet… we can feel Him. So we learn how to become still and silent. We learn to sit near.
So thanks, Dad. It took me a while, but I finally did figure out how valuable those afternoons were, in the overall scheme of things. You introduced me to silent love, stong steadiness… and the power of simply BEING.