Let’s be still

I was probably all of six years old, crying, as my mother packed her suitcase. She was going to her uncle’s funeral and leaving me home for a few days. I cried and begged to go, not so much because the funeral interested me but because I wanted my mother. I wanted permanence. Her presence, like a rock, always there.

I held on to a soooooo-over relationship in my twenties, one that didn’t really even make me happy anymore. Not so much because I couldn’t live without this man (obviously I could, I’m still kicking) but because I had engraved in my mind that he was IT. And I wanted the permanence of his presence, of that surety.

I watch friends hold on to marriages because of this same longing for something that lasts. Doesn’t matter if he drinks, does drugs, loses the family savings, kills her with his sarcasm and selfishness—she’ll be damned if she’ll go back on that promise. She wants permanence.

Well who doesn’t?

Even the daredevils, the change mongers, want some root that grounds them. Something unflinching, unchangeable and impermeable to the fickleness of human nature.

Wooden dock with chairs on calm fall lakeAnd yet, the universe shows us permanence is a boondoggle. As I run through the woods, I see the fallen tree, ancient and huge, decaying and turning back to the earth. I see the remains of some poor small animal the coyote bested. I attend funerals for fathers and sons and mothers and best friends—some taken long before anyone was willing to let them go.

I remember willing myself to remember every detail of my father’s profile as he lay dying. I play his voice back in my head far too often so I don’t lose the sound of it. And yet, even just two years after his death, I’ve lost bits here and there.

I take in the little-boy smell every time I hug my youngest. But it’s fading. And his propensity for accepting motherly hugs will too—at least for a while.

As my oldest gets ready to leave a beautiful, nurturing school that has been his home away from home for the past five years, I think we both cling to its bubble. Every time I hear, Let’s Be Still, I think of his thoughts at graduation. And I tear up. I wish I could freeze time for him so he could return to this safe place years from now. But I can’t.

When we hold tightly, thinking we can keep the moment, the person, the thing—many times we just drag the whole lot through unnecessary pain, pain greater than that the initial letting go would have caused.

Change and failure are the universe’s gentle ways of saying, “Not that way, but this.” If we listen, at first blush, it’s a gentle whisper. But those of us stuck on permanence might end up with the one-two punch. If whispers don’t work, don’t put it past your Creator to turn up the volume.

So, for today, I promise myself to be in the moment. To know that moment is fleeting and ever-changing. And to learn to accept that universal truth with grace, if not love.

166 Comments Add yours

  1. You are wise and I enjoyed reading this so much.

  2. Stillness is underrated. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  3. artofphography says:

    Yes, I’ve had the whisper turn into a thunderstorm…and still held on a bit longer. I am in the midst of change and am trying to embrace it for a change. Your words are encouragement for all of us out there. Thank you!

    1. candidkay says:

      If you’re embracing it, then you’re already around the corner:). Wishing you peace.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! And thank you for reading.

  4. amackblog says:

    Wonderfully written. Thank you, I loved that simple song!!

    1. candidkay says:

      I love it, too. Every time I listen to it, I get teary though!

  5. This is so beautiful. I actually felt calm at the end of it. Greetings and much love from The Netherlands.

  6. emptyneststyle says:

    That was beautiful. Thank you.

  7. Ginmardo says:

    A very lovely piece you wrote. Having oriented myself with stoicism, there is a lot knod to while reading your article. Change is natures delight. Thank you for this wonderful blog 🙂

  8. goddesstale says:

    Love your insights about change. They resonated with me. Thank you.

  9. drakejamie says:

    Sometimes spending so much energy trying to drink in the moment makes you miss the moment entirely…. oh the irony. Thanks for this post, a wonderful reminder to take a good look at pressing issues in a healthy way.

  10. This was very honest and real. Amazing how the lessons that make us are the ones we shun so vigorously. Awesome, great post.

  11. Monica says:

    Beautiful. *teary-eyes

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for reading! Glad it touched you.

  12. sierrajoyy says:

    I love this post. It’s so hard to not grasp onto things and want them to last forever. When something makes us happy, the thought of losing it is terrifying. However, to let go and accept that we don’t have much control is very good for us.

    Check out my post on living fearlessly and let me know what you think 🙂

  13. Katie says:

    I loved reading this. It was very inspiring for something I am currently going through. Thank you!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks for the reblog!

  14. codemanbc says:

    Wow! I really (REALLY!) like this post. As I, a 63 year old male, keep wondering…”what’s next?” – Cody’s Dad

  15. Beautifully and poetically stated. Thank you for this reminder.

  16. callumdownes says:

    Beautifully written, really helped me change my perspective on things. Thanks 🙂

  17. jackalax says:

    Beautiful post. Live in the moment… We need to do it more often!

  18. Very nice. I think I am fighting it. I just started lifewall.org to be a global human history wall, where we can immortalize our loved ones. I agree with your article, but I also feel every human should be acknowledge now that we can. I hope it appeals to you and you get your father on. Great post

  19. Rajat says:


  20. sarahansari says:

    I agree with Tela. This post was absolutely, breath-takingly beautiful. 🙂

  21. jmtrick says:

    Wow. Beautifully said.

  22. Beautiful post, and a beautiful picture too. I myself can be somewhat change resistant. I have to remind myself that the changing whirlwind of the world hold it’s own beauty.

  23. mukesh rai says:

    Beautifully said …

  24. mukesh rai says:

    Reblogged this on .

  25. I love this! Thank you for this beautiful piece. Beatriz

  26. cbauer4 says:

    Spot on, what sad but beautiful thoughts!

  27. I love the way you write about yearning. It’s true that we naturally want to capture every stage and every second of beauty in our lives and cannot bear forgetting the details or seeing that precious moment/time/person change into something we no longer recognise. Thank you! 🙂

  28. I love your conclusion. Relying on anything but God is like building your house on sand. When the storm comes, that thing isn’t going to stand. On the flipside, with faith, prayer, and good service, there’s nothing God can’t make beautiful, eternal, and secure. “Those who love their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake and the sake of the Gospel, will find it.”

  29. amazing post…thanks for your inspiration…

  30. Wow my kind of a place….

  31. Reblogged this on Sand In My Soul and commented:
    In the words of Buechner, “Listen with your life.” Great piece, take the time to check it out.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much for the reblog! And for stopping by.

  32. I really like your blog, I hope you can look at mine and enjoy it too. What is your inspirations?

  33. itsteen0440 says:

    Great writing…and so true. My close friend and I growing up used to always say keep you eyes open for subtle hints and listen to your instincts for direction. Sometimes it’s subtle other times it’s the sledge hammer from Heaven.

  34. Mike Andberg says:

    I’m searching for stillness everyDAY. Lack of noise = fullfilment (except for the occasional rock concert).

    1. candidkay says:

      Do NOT give up those rock concerts 🙂

  35. Very insightful. Great post!

  36. beezzacademy says:

    Touching, inspiring and actually led me to be in the moment. Right now. Right here. Thank you!

    1. candidkay says:

      Love that:) a Thanks for reading!

  37. Kim-Lee says:

    I’m glad I found this post today. I can relate, in some ways. I want permanence. I don’t like break ups, growing apart or any of those major changes. It’s hard. I really needed to read this today, thanks for sharing it. 😉

    1. candidkay says:

      Glad it found it’s way to you, then. Wishing you peace today.

  38. cozintransit says:

    Lately it seems the kids are growing quicker than usual. I find myself anxious that in a couple of years the family we’ve created will no longer be able to do the things we do so often now (travel, watch movies, game night…). I love your last paragraph. Thanks for this post!

    1. candidkay says:

      And it’s that very anxiety that robs us of the moment. Ironic , isn’t it?

  39. Well-written words and as I read, it comes from a deep place that I think all women should go to once in a while. Life passes us by and sometimes we forget to inhale and exhale. In the mornings when I leave for work, I take a moment to say goodbye to the ones I love. I do not have children but I am speaking from just our loved ones…taking a moment everyday to just inhale and exhale can change your whole day. Thanks for the post….look forward to reading more.

    1. candidkay says:

      If only women went to that place more often. We’d change the world.

  40. booboojing says:

    I could totally relate to the second paragraph. Having hanged on to a decade of love for someone who is so much less worthy because I too thought she ‘was it'(candidkay,2014).

    I am still standing still here. Reeling in the sweet memories and self-burying the too-often unhappy ones. May this seemingly permanent bout of silence be fleeting and over.

  41. namitasunder says:

    so beautifully written…..right, letting go is not easy. Some times we cling to the moments and wish that we would never have to talk about them in past tense but then change is the only constant factor in life. It’s very difficult to just be……be in the now……but we need to learn it…….I loved reading it…..

  42. Beautiful! And I love that line, ‘If whispers don’t work, don’t put it past your Creator to turn up the volume.’

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