Seeking Stillness

Melody Newey subtitles her poem “Be Still” as a psalm, which is so interesting to me. I usually think of a psalm as a prayer (although, and I had not realized this before looking it up, psalms are supposed to be songs set to music): David praying for mercy (Psalm 57), or deliverance (Psalm 59), or proclaiming the Lord’s glory (Psalm 66). Go ahead and correct my Biblical scholarship if needed, but it seems to me that parts of Psalm 69, a Messianic psalm, are written from the Lord’s point of view. There’s also Nephi’s Psalm, 2 Nephi 4, another prayer.

But Melody Newey’s psalm is different: it’s written as the Lord speaking very personally to us, His prayer for us:

Come away from shouting daylight and
find me in the stillness of your afternoon;
your ordinary afternoon.

My afternoons are not so still. I try to be still in the morning: read my scriptures, maybe exercise, fill up that place in me that life seems to empty so quickly. But I love the idea of seeking stillness in the middle of the day, of restoring my soul in ordinary places and ordinary ways.

How do you find stillness in your ordinary afternoons? And, speculating a bit, if the Savior wrote another psalm for us, what else might it say?

About Emily M.

(Poetry Board) graduated from BYU in Comparative Literature, but it was long enough ago that most of what she learned has leaked out. She would like to mention other hobbies or interests, but to be honest she spends most of her free time reading (although she does enjoy attempting yoga). She used to blog at hearingvoices.wordpress.com. For now, though, Segullah is her only blogging home, and it's a good one.

9 thoughts on “Seeking Stillness

  1. What a lovely question. . . if I get some stillness this afternoon I’ll be pondering it. I’m a big believer in taking some midday time to spiritually recharge. Although I have to admit, lately my afternoon stillness has been mostly pregnancy-induced naps.

  2. Not that I’m much of a sign-seeker, but here I was, reading my daily blogs and procrastinating the studying that needs to happen before tomorrow’s class and grading today’s batch of papers my students turned in, and your post reminds me that I’ve yet to read my scriptures today. Hint taken; roger, wilco.

  3. I actually have been trying to have scripture study in the afternoon. My daughter goes to preschool during the middle of the day, so when I get the baby down for a nap I have a little down time. I used to always hop right on the computer to “zone out” for a while, but I’ve found that when I do some scripture study instead it really recharges my day. It’s been a hard change because I’m used to doing it at night before bed, but I’ve realized I need the spiritual boost during the day and so I can think about it all afternoon.

  4. This is one of my favorite poems. I love the images and the unpretentious language. When Melody reads this poem aloud, stillness settles into the room.

    My days are not still. Yet, I can still find peace, cultivate stillness and reverence if I really try.

    If the Savior wrote another psalm for us, I think it would gently, lovingly remind us to let go of things that are not of worth.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

    Rynell, I would love to hear Melody read this aloud. Lucky you!

    Rynell, that would make a good psalm. I have also wondered about a psalm encouraging charity. I think both your idea and mine relate to clarity of vision, to seeing people and possessions as the Lord sees them.

    The demise of the afternoon nap is a sad, sad thing.

    And I like the idea of afternoon scripture reading… I just need to do something about it.

  6. I found stillness yesterday while sewing Christmas pajamas and re-listening to conference. I had a prayer answered through a talk and I had a lovely calmness descend into my sewing room.

    I was a really sweet moment.

    But then, I’ve still got a napper.

  7. I had a very powerful prompting a few weeks ago to start studying my scriptures in the afternoon, when my children could see me and also to bring a sense of stillness into my afternoons.

    I think the psalm is absolutely lovely.

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