Cupcakes and Sunshine: home sweet georgia and some stillness

Sunday, August 25, 2019

home sweet georgia and some stillness

I love the 1 hour 42 minute plane ride between Dallas and Atlanta that I've been grateful to take many more times than I thought I would this summer.

Because it is a short cross-country state hop, the plane isn't usually equipped with back-of-the seat touch screens loaded with movies and shows and games you can play with the person sitting across the aisle from you.

So instead, we passengers are momentarily "stuck" in stillness. A quick 1 hour and 42 minutes of stillness.

It's my favorite form of stillness accountability-- simply sitting in the clouds, with nothing more than 2 inches of wiggle room, stale air, and a stale cushioned seat. (+ the occasional side of packaged pretzels or peanuts.) It's not even advisable to leave your seat because the trip is an almost evenly split progression of departing and arriving. The green "seatbelt" sign remains glowing continuously.

If you are lucky enough to not download a tv series beforehand on your own device, this 1 hour and 42 minute trip consists of your thoughts and noiseless solitude. (That is, unless you want to forgo the stillness & pay $17.99 for the "luxury" of an hour and a half of wavering WiFi. Also probably not advisable.)

Stillness that is a rough attempt for me anywhere but the clouds- a clasped seatbelt and the reminder of that tiny glowing green sign next to the tilted open air vents above- to stay seated.

Flights are full of anticipation. You are either anticipating the newness and adventure in what's to come as you leave home, or anticipating the familiarity of your own bed, own food, and own habitual patterns of life as you arrive back home.

This most recent trip- the anticipation of the wedding of a best friend from college- a weekend of celebration in Georgia.

And after, the 1 hour and 42 minutes returning to Dallas, the simultaneous anticipation of homeward-bound familiarity and reminiscent thoughts of the past weekend of joy and celebration. Leaving with a full heart and memories with friends old and new.

So much anticipation, coming and going. And yet, there you are- hostage to your seatbelt and parallel armrests for at least an hour 42.

But also present.


Different from the everyday hustle and bustle. and even different from the everyday anticipation of what's to come.  Stillness. + maybe a couple handfuls of those stale peanuts and pretzels of course.

If, like the 1 hour and 45 minute plane trip, we are always in the hustle bustle transition of departing and arriving, then shouldn't we too attempt a few minutes of stillness? Of presence?

I added the book Liturgy of the Ordinary to the noiseless solitude on the returning trip to Dallas, and so far, I think it's my favorite book I've read this year.

If "our hearts and our loves are shaped by what we do again and again and again," and "the work of repentance and faith is daily and repetitive," and also practiced in the stillness, then, well, our daily habits and routines need a few alterations, friends.

"Our addiction to stimulation, input, and entertainment empties us out and makes us boring- unable to embrace the ordinary wonders of life in Christ." Well shoot. There you go.

I'm spending these next few days practicing turning off, shutting down, and creating more still, small (& big) moments. I don't want to rush through the moments and days, forgetting that transformation takes root and grows right where we are- in the ordinary.

Happy ordinary, friends!


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