Tag Archives: Meditation

Revisiting “Quiet Time”

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Oh, the joy of vacation!    I have been off enjoying the weather lately.   It was a somewhat spur-of-the-moment vacation that became feasible when a couple of projects at work all came together and nothing new of immediate urgency reared its ugly head.   I am just now getting back into the swing of things here, and so I offer the following post with all humility.  And a tan…

 

Continuing to revisit songs I posted quite some time ago so that I can provide more falvor and background, I re-present the song “Quiet Time.”   Link here:

https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/quiet-time/

Lyrics here:
Quiet Time
It’s been a long hard day at work
The kids are tired and the house is still a mess
Have some bills piled up
And a stack of papers that I still haven’t read
I seem so far behind

Need to take both cars in for an oil change
And I’m almost out of gas
Got a list of things to do that’s three pages long
And it keeps on growing at a rate that’s much too fast
Tryin’ not to lose my mind

And all I want
Is a little quiet time with You
So I can clear my head
All I need
Is a little quiet time with You
So I can draw upon Your strength
And I can make it through the day

The best time spent is time with You
So You can me work things through
And I can cope with all that life’s about

Just a little while
And I begin to smile
I know You feel my trials
And remove my doubts

So I get back to my life
And I understand that circumstances
Haven’t changed
But a burden’s been removed
And I’ve given it to You
And the feeling’s not the same
I feel like I’m renewed – again

And all I did
Was have some quiet time with You
So could clear my head
All I needed was some quiet time with You
So I could draw upon Your strength
And I could make it through the day

This is probably the mellowest and most contemplative song on the CD. As you read the lyrics, you will notice that the issues of angst are not large things. Need gas… need to catch up on reading… house is a mess… These are the things in our daily lives that tend to pile up. Not one of them is an insurmountable task, but when you start to realize the totality of what needs to be done, you can get overwhelmed if you let it. All these things can squeeze out of your life other things. Good things. Necessary things. First and foremost, they can squeeze out prayere if you let them.

We all need to “recharge our batteries.” But how do we do that? Do we turn to God for recharging, or do we turn somewhere else? We cannot separate the physical from the spiritual. We are beings of both realms. Add into that our emotional needs and we are complex creatures. But we are ultimately meant for God.

Quiet Time was written to serve as a reminder to myself (and hopefully others) that when we are stressed out about things, the exact response we need is not to push God aside, but to take some time to give Him our burdens – even the small, daily ones – and allow Him to provide for us the energy to move forward. We will not only forge our relationship with God in doing so, but will in the end be more productive.

As the song says, all those things still remain after we’ve spent time with God. But it is important to “reset” and get our heads and hearts right.

I hope you take a few minutes to click on the link, listen to the song, and enjoy.

Hope you all had a blessed Independence Day (at least those in the U.S.)!

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Meditating in the “Quietude” of a Rototiller

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This is not my tiller, but it just didn’t seem right to not put a picture of a tiller on this post.

I have mentioned my irrationally large garden in the past. With great plots of land come great responsibility. Or something like that…

Anyway, what I have not mentioned here all that much is my childhood. But as I was sweating bullets behind a rototiller this weekend, I hearkened back to the days of my youth.

You see, I grew up on a dairy farm. And although I chose not to pursue farm life as a vocation in adulthood, I have largely fond memories of life on the farm. My summers were filled nearly every day with work responsibilities. Sounds great, eh? Well, yes… it was. At the time, I’m sure I would have preferred to be off doing my own thing all the time, but I know in retrospect that I turned out much better for having worked most summer days. For one thing, I certainly appreciated the free time I had when it was available.

As parents, my wife and I struggle a bit with trying to find ways to instill a work ethic and sense of responsibility in our kids. I’m sorry, but 90% of us (or more) either have too low of expectations of our kids, are too lazy ourselves to find ways to get our kids working, or flat out run out of meaningful things for them to do. And it shows often enough in different ways, even with well-behaved kids. We are guilty of all the above at times.

There was no risk of any of that on the farm. Not enough hours in the day was a bigger issue.

Sorry. I write as I think, and this post was not intended at the onset to be a dissertation on parenting towards a work ethic. So, I’ll try to get back on path here.

So anyway, in my younger days I was on the tractor often. You drive the tractor to cut the hay down. You drive the tractor to rake the hay. You drive the tractor to bail the hay. You drive the tractor to spread the manure – I have a nice story about that… but not now. Let’s just say that the story involves a younger sister, a misunderstanding, few unfortunate curse words, and multiple showers. But again, I digress.

You often hear about how much “noise” we have in our society today. When we speak of that, I think it’s important to differentiate between the “noise” of distraction and audible noise. Watching TV, talking on the phone, texting, scouring the internet, e-mailing, listening to the radio (music or ball games), listening to an iPod (I prefer generic mp3 players myself), reading spiritually desolate material, any work we do that engages the mind in a way that prevents us from contemplating other things… the list goes on. When our attention is somewhere that disallows meditation or even random musings, then that is “noise.” It is not that we can’t incorporate these things into our lives. They range from things that bring us pleasure to things that are necessary for our livelihood. But when we inundate ourselves with these things from morning to evening, we do not take time for prayer or contemplation of any kind. Further, when we try to take a few minutes of silence, we are distracted from it and find it difficult to focus. It seems a foreign thing to us.

But in those countless hours of driving a large piece of farm equipment that was anything but noiseless, I found silence. I can remember many times engaging my mind in completely different ways as I rode around in the field. I prayed many a time out on the tractor as I looked around and appreciated God’s creation around me. I simply contemplated many spiritual profundities and formulated both questions and answers to other questions. And while I was always a relatively faithful Catholic kid, it’s not as though I was an “on-fire for the spirit” Jesus freak. But the time on the farm simply brought me there, and it was a very natural response to the situation I was in. Beyond the spiritual, I “wrote” a number of songs in my head as I raked the hay, later to be translated into actual music. I just let my mind go where it went without disruption, and appreciated the random occurrences of seeing a Badger pop out of a hole in the ditch, or a hawk pounce upon a rodent scurrying about in the field. Nobody around me would have guessed how silent that tractor really was.

I recalled that because I found myself doing the same thing this weekend while working in the garden. As I maneuvered the rototiller, there was little realization that I was in “contemplation mode” until a sudden consciousness about it came over me. I was somewhere between the pumpkins and the cantaloupe as I realized that for the last half hour, thoughts about different Catholic issues that I’d discussed with others were bouncing around my empty head. Similar to not remembering a dream during the night, I was so in my little world, that it is difficult to recall what all had been considered as I traversed between rows of corn, and then moved onto the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. For certain, though, there was no talking, mindless listening to my favorite music, or in any way incorporating LOL into the activity at hand.

I have truly come to appreciate what I’m sure my dad has always loved about the farm. I find myself envious of the amount of time he has probably spent during his life quietly going about his work – as physically demanding as it often is – and offering that time up to God in one way or another, or just mulling and thinking.

Thinking is good. I think…