‘after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” ’ (1 Kings 19: 12-13)

Last week I led a Sunday morning reflection for a group called Hospice23.  Those attending were hospice staff motivated in their work by a sense of vocation.  The residential was held at Scargill House and it was a beautiful and bright early morning drive over to Kettlewell.  The theme I’d been asked to address was stillness.

Stillness is something people respond to differently.  For some it can be a precious respite after a busy day.  For others the idea of stillness drives them crazy: they want to be up and doing!  While stillness might always have the same qualities it can come out of quite different things.  In the passage at the start of this blog stillness follows storm.  I am sure that those working in health care know that kind of experience, in all sorts of ways, and not least when the struggle to preserve life is confronted by the reality of loss.

When we are still, the questions we have been trying to avoid come quietly into our minds.  It’s when Elijah is met by sheer silence at the entrance of the cave that God asks him: “What are you doing here?”

Sometimes those in our care need us to be still.  Rushing about gets things done but it can also lead us to miss things we ought to hear.  In the middle of a storm, on a busy ward or in our daily work, we need to keep hold of the capacity to be stilled.  Without stillness in us patients will never feel fully seen or have their individual needs acknowledged.

If you have the chance from time to time to walk by the tarns and waters of the Dales there is a lesson nature never tires of teaching us.  Without stillness there is no reflection.

Be still: and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10


Lord, every day, for just

a moment, still our busy world.

Speak to us in peace; draw us deeper into your love

and let our stillness be of service to those we are called to serve.    Amen.

By Chris Swift

A writer, researcher and speaker on faith, spirituality and wellbeing. Enthusiastic about spirituality and belief in a community setting; challenged and changed by the theological questions raised in daily life.

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