Still waters

‘Still waters run deep’ goes the expression, mostly referring to people who maybe don’t say much but who think deeply. I often think of the verse in psalm 23 – ‘He leads me beside still waters…’ We tend to think of water as moving: the sea is in constant movement, rivers flow, lakes have currents and can be whipped up by the wind. The stream which runs by our house moves downwards pretty swiftly after heavy rain. ‘Still waters’ can conjure up images of murky, stagnant ponds, hiding creeping weeds and unknown creatures.

Those of us with balance problems never feel still. If our world is not spinning, it is jerking or distorted. Often it seems like something in our head is moving, or we are moving when we are sitting quietly or lying down. When riding in a car, we feel uncomfortable movement when the car has stopped. Sleep can be severely disturbed. Complete stillness is elusive.

Reflecting more on the ‘still waters’ of the well-known psalm, I can see how they may refer to an inner stillness, the stillness of our souls. Even if we enjoy good health, in life we are often caught up in constant movement – running around physically, our minds jumping from one concern to the next, days full of incessant activity and thoughts which fill our heads to overflowing.

Whatever it is which keeps us from stillness, we can find a way to ignore it for a time. I like to imagine a small lake in a field with a wood. A very soft breeze blows the branches of the trees. The sun glints off the surface of the water, which is clear and still and deep. It brings me peace and calms the symptoms I have, reminding me of God’s presence around and within me, and of the depths which lie below the surface of all our lives. Sometimes it is good to spend time in those depths and discover the stillness at the centre of all things.

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