In 2003, Hurricane Isabel passed over Williamsburg, Virginia where I lived for 12 years.
Kingsmill, our neighbourhood, was particularly badly hit—we had, well, hurricane force winds buffet us for nearly 12 hours. The lights went out. Trees crashed on the roof, and broke the girls’ newly built tree house and playhouse. The laptops failed; there was nothing to do but watch the storm.
And suddenly, in the little woods behind our house, there was a still point of absolute calm, while around it, trees bent and swayed like ballerinas. “It’s the eye of the hurricane,” Roy said.
* * *
So I have been retreating ever more to the still point at the eye of the hurricane.
At the still point of the turning world.
At the still point, there the dance is. T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets.
* * *
And here is my favourite hiding place when the battle rages—hiding in the shelter of the Most High
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91
* * *
Have you ever been hooked up to an IV? You lie passive on your hospital bed, while drip, drip, drip, life-giving fluids flow into you.
Increasingly, I retreat to that secret place, the shelter of the Most High, and hide in the shadow of the Almighty, relying on the steady drip-drip-drip of grace and peace and presence of mind to deal with the challenges as they surface.
And when I don’t—then, well, all hell breaks lose.
* * *
“My grace is sufficient for you,” Christ told the Apostle Paul. “For my power is made perfect in weakness.”
How do we avail ourselves of this power? Moment by moment, step by step.
By practice, we learn to pray.
I am learning to lean, to hook up to that immense waterfall of grace and power when I am tired, to learn that his grace, given minute by minute at the point of need, really is sufficient.
I am learning when stressed to return to the still point of prayer, that land which is so quiet.