Sittin’ Still Time
By Marsha Tennant
My grandmother used to tell me that getting up in the early morning was a necessity on the farm, but it was also her “sittin’ still time” with God and the chickens. She put a great deal of stock in the wisdom of both. She would talk to God and run her concerns by the yard chickens. Although she was in constant motion the remainder of the day, she was being still and taking time to begin her day in a quiet and sacred manner. I wish I had written down all the wise words she uttered over her seven decades of life.
Last year I retired after forty years in education. Several of my friends told me that it would take about six months to adjust and find a new inner rhythm. I have found that to be true. The summer was spent in anticipation of what I would do that I had not had the time for during my career. I wanted to resume yoga, write a second children’s book, learn to knit, declutter my house and live with less. Oh, and did I mention that our first grandchild arrived in January 2012? Ideas and projects circled in my head. I was spinning in circles with new adventure plans. The buffet of choices excited me at first – and then reality set in. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and confused. I wasn’t enjoying this new phase of my life as much as I thought I would.
In the middle of this turmoil I had to move my mother to a retirement community. That is when I realized that I had been going about this new leg of my journey all wrong. Adding this monumental task to my list shut me down. I sat on my mother’s kitchen floor and cried as I surveyed the mounds of boxes and lifetime of accumulations. I found a note that I had written to my parents many years before where I talked about the chickens and being still to figure out what I needed to do. BANG! I got it. I need to be still AGAIN and listen to my inner voice and wait for the whisper. It was ok to do nothing – which was actually something.
Armed with my favorite inspirational books and past journals, I have begun to create a ritual of morning reflection. I open a journal, Bible or book at random. It is the message that I need to begin my day. Never fails. That alone is enough to center me. And I find my previous journal thoughts are just as relevant in the current moment as they were at an earlier time. The underlined passages in my daddy’s Bible jumpstart my day. Sue Monk Kidd, Rhonda Rich and Joan Anderson are a few of my favorite girlfriends in the mornings.
This sounds like a simple task. It has taken discipline and commitment in the midst of technology and constant outside stimulation. I love to write. Pen to paper is a soul connection. I prefer the feel of the paper as I turn a page in a book. Getting still is critical to framing my wellness. It is working for me. I have slowed down and actually thought about what it is that I want to do – what is important to me. This leg of my journey has to be more strategic but it can also be the most exciting. This is ME time.
The frantic urge to do a long list of activities has slowly disappeared. I begin my day with blessings to God and the chickens. I write them down and wait for the whisper. The grandson arrived safely and is healthy, I am learning to knit, and the ideas for the book are circling. The difference is that I have a calmness about what has to be done, and what got bumped off my list. The chickens are good listeners.
About this writer
- Marsha Tennant is the author of the children’s book, Margaret, Pirate Queen. She was recently published in AARP Bulletin and Mary Jane’s Farm. She and her husband retired and moved to the beach from Calabash in an attempt to downsize and spend time with their new grandson. A second Pirate Queen book is circling while porch sitting these days!