Ken's bench (14-06-2022)
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
Last Friday I was at home so Rob took the day off work and in the afternoon, we went for a walk around Pitsford Reservoir. It’s one of our favourite walks to do, we park in the car park by the causeway and walk the couple of miles round to the café where we stop for a drink before returning to the car by the same way that we came, rather than the somewhat longer route around the rest of the reservoir. We set off at about 3pm and made our way round to the café. On our way there we passed some other walkers, some with dogs, and the usual sprinkling of cyclists. We saw quite a few families, not people but animals, firstly it was rabbits and then swans all with their young in tow. We watched as a group of sailors had a lesson out on the water in their small sailing boats.
After our very nice drink at the café we started walking back, it was now about 4.30pm and it had become much quieter at the reservoir. The boats were no longer on the water, the families of animals had moved on and we found ourselves almost completely alone on the path. My legs were getting a bit tired by now so I suggested to Rob that we stopped and sat on a bench for a little while. We saw a bench that was up on a mound looking over the water and decided that that would be a good place to stop. As with many of the benches around the reservoir it had a dedication on it which told us that it was Ken’s bench and underneath there was a quote. Well actually it wasn’t a quote, it was an adaptation of a quote. The quote comes from the poem ‘Leisure’ by W.H.Davies and it should be “What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”, but the people who had used it for Ken’s bench had changed it to ‘What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to sit and stare”. This made me smile and with my tired legs I was very pleased to find a place to sit and stare for a little while.
While we sat in the peace and quiet of the reservoir we listened to the sound of the water rippling, we heard the birds singing and watched as the wind blew through the grasses and flowers that were in front of us. It was a lovely scene. The sun was out and while we sat there it was easy to feel that we were close to God in his creation. Although the scene was not completely still, we were and after we had sat for a while, we were rested and able to happily continue on our journey back to the car.
We must never underestimate the need to be still. The rest of the world will continue around us but we need to develop the skill of being still and like the psalmist we will know what it is like to have our strength renewed and be able to feel the presence of our God.
Father, help us to be still so that we can recognise your presence with us.