A Long, Slow Autumn Morning
As usual it is Saturday morning as I write this column. This morning I took a little longer getting up, and for the first time in several weeks I did not get up in the dark. As I opened my eyes this morning the first sight that greeted me was my bedroom window, perfectly framing the most beautiful golden maple leaves from our maple tree. It was a golden moment. I thought about this being a golden October morning. I didn’t want to move.
I didn’t want to do anything to break the spell that that sight had cast over me. I knew that this morning needed to be a long, slow autumn morning—a golden October morning that comes to us and beckons us to be still, just for a moment.
Psalm 46:10 is a message that comes to us from God, through the writer of the psalms. It says to us to “be still and know that I am God.” I thought of those words this morning as soon as I saw the vision in my window of the golden leaves. The beauty of that golden maple tree was a gift to me and God wanted me to notice, to slow down, to be still and know that God is in my life, that God is real, that God is mercy, that God is love.
Now, I know how to be still. I know how to sit in silence, to breathe in the presence of God, to listen. This is part of my daily practice. I sit in silence at least twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. During this time of silence I am aware of the presence and love of God surrounding me, encouraging me, leading me, forgiving me. I look forward to these moments every day. It is the quiet presence of God that strengthens me, and I know that I am better off for taking this time each day.
This morning, however, I was reminded that living our lives in the awareness of God’s presence is what God longs for us to strive for. I was given a gift this morning and the best way to notice this gift and appreciate this gift was to take a long slow autumn morning to watch and listen and rejoice—to be still and know God.
So, I did. And in this long slow autumn morning I noticed the gorgeous golden maple leaves of course, but after a while I noticed how they swayed and shimmered in the breeze. After a while I noticed that, of hundreds of golden leaves on this maple tree, there were several very obscure spots of brilliant red. I would have missed that beauty if I had rushed this morning. After another while I noticed the songs of the birds chirping away. And when I went to the window to watch I could see many birds playing around the bird feeder and taking baths in our garden pond. After another while I noticed I was smiling.
Not every morning can be a long, slow autumn morning. Indeed, most cannot. But I think that more often than not, in our lives, God is trying to get our attention. More often than not, God is gently nudging us to “be still and know that I am God.” In these moments when we are still, when we notice, I think it is likely that we will begin to realize just how much God is with us and just how much God’s love and mercy surround us, just how much God is leading us into a deeper more fulfilling life.
My prayer for all of us is that before the last leaves drop from the trees, God might offer us more long, slow autumn mornings and that we might accept them as God’s gift.
To God alone be Glory!