Speaking to the soul

Guild Hall, Londonderry

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:1-2 NLT

Pressing the pause button to create a genuine space within which to reflect is of great benefit. I love the way scripture tells us that Jesus’ mother, Mary, from the annunciation onward, pondered all the unusual interruptions in her life in her heart (Luke 2:19).

Another useful practice commended by David Steindl-Rast, is to pause between the end of the day and climbing into bed. Use that pause to review the day, stop and reflect. Sometimes I find the day has rushed past me. Did my day have hold of me, or did I have hold of my day?

I bought a hand mower for the lawn. I remember with pleasure pushing my dad’s old mower to cut the lawn at home. Even then I found the gentle sound of the drive chain and the swish of the cutting blades strangely comforting. I unpacked and assembled my new mower with more excitement than seemed appropriate, set the blades and began to cut. What a joy. This has now been incorporated into my summer contemplative practice. Daily, when not raining, I run the mower over the lawn. It gives me a chance to stop and look over the preceding hours.

Sometimes as I ‘look’ across all the moments that preceded this pause, I recognise something that I had missed earlier, an encounter with God. I recall its significance or beauty. I acknowledge my regret that I didn’t pause long enough to enjoy it.

This deliberate pause offers me the opportunity to wake up to what I’ve experienced of God in my day. Failure to stop and look means that such moments are lost forever. It’s a simple practice. Take a time that suits your rhythm and stop, look and pursue the remembrances of God from your past day. It nurtures hope and faith.


What moments can you remember, from today or yesterday, where you found God?


Help me to review the times I found you, as I stop and look back over the day.