Relaxing Into Stillness

I am sitting in the hot water, quiet, listening. 

The sun is up, unseen birds chirping morning greetings.  The wind gently blows the tall tall coconut trees, palm leaves slapping their fingers together.  In the distance... water, speckled with white, and a faint sound of waves against rock.

Morning in Moloka’i.

When we first arrived at this spacious breezy house, children squealing, adults chattering, bags everywhere... I thought I am stiff.  But here, here I will sleep.  Here I will rest and maybe, maybe my body will stop hurting.

The possibility of a physical rest that deep brought tears of relief to my eyes.

And now, I am silent in the hot tub, listening, quiet inside.  Even after four days it is hard for me to relax and allow all my limbs to float in the heat.

In silent conversation with God I listen to the sounds of His creation.  The surface of the water perfectly reflects the coconut tree next to me. 

Movement catches my eye in the coconut tree’s reflection, and I realize that I have stirred the water underneath, and distorted the image.
"Now we see as through a mirror darkly"
It comes to my mind right away, and I wait for more, wondering.
"Then we shall see face to face."
I move my hand under the water and watch the surface.  Little eddies and ripples move the shiny stillness and the coconut tree changes again.  If I move enough, it is unrecognizable.

I stop, sit silent and still, and wait.  The coconut tree shows again.  I see now that the image is never perfect, that the breezes play their part.  But when I am still, the water’s surface is almost a mirror.

God, reflected on the surface of me. 

How much more the lack of stillness deep within me distorts His image, than the winds of circumstance.
"Be still and know that I am God."
What makes that so hard for me?  What drives me to work and strain and do more and more and only rest when I crash?

My heart is beating harder as I hold myself perfectly still.  Is it the heat of the water?  The heat of conviction?

But I can’t hold myself still.  The very effort makes me move.  I find the only way is to relax, to allow the water to hold my limbs, to just float and rest.  The palm tree shimmers.

I want to wrap this up in me forever... to rest, to float, to not try so hard... to be still.

To take home the quietness inside.

And allow His image to shine on my surface.

scriptures 1 Corinthians 13:12, Psalm 46:10
photos  © Patti Brown 2010


  1. Oh my goodness... that is BEAUTIFUL!!!! What a WONDERFUL word picture!!! (going to share it right now!)

  2. What a great analogy, and visual!

    Now we seem dimly, but then face to face- I Cor 13!
    That was what I memorized before starting Phil!

  3. Thank you both so much for the encouragement. It lifts my heart.

    Katie, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a was the first longer passage we memorized, even before we started bible journaling. I had only two children at the time; they were 2 and 7. Wow, they were so young. Hard to believe.

  4. What a wonderful image of the beauty of stillness and the distortion our own thrashing around causes. God is so creative in the ways He communicates with us. That image is so helpful to me!


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