Daring to be still
Who, in the hectic and chaotic tempo that is today’s day and age, does not crave a bit of quiet space, if only for a brief time? The scene in modern culture is set to assault people with news bytes, status updates, and funny videos galore, all squeezed around, between, and during our multitude of responsibilities. But do we dare take time for our own spiritual well-being? Are we brave enough to find time to meet God and grow a personal, real relationship with the Divine Creator?
I confess that after last semester, a time spent adjusting to a rigorous new course load and moving away from my family, I found myself in need of a concerted effort to listen to God. I had spent so much time unloading all of my issues in my time of prayer that I had neglected to nurture a space for God to be with me and for us to simply love on each other.
This yearning, this needing to learn to listen in silence so that I might experience a mutual love with God, propelled me into my crash-course with Dr. Wendy Farley. Over the span of two days, Dr. Farley visited Wake Forest School of Divinity from Emory University in Atlanta in order to teach an eager bunch of students the art of being silent. More specifically, Dr. Farley gave an introduction to the art of centering prayer.
The class time in itself was incredibly spiritually nurturing. Dr. Farley created space to practice centering prayer four times over the course of the two day class. In addition to these practice opportunities, on the second day, Dr. Farley dedicated the hour after lunch to creative meditation. Students were encouraged to take walks, read poetry books, or create art with the supplies Dr. Farley provided. In this time of sacred and quiet creativity, we were invited to consciously think of the ever-present, if quiet and still, nature of the loving Divine.
With Dr. Farley’s gentle guidance, I became more aware of the potential of centering prayer, including a constructive way to “unplug” from this hectic life for a short time each day. More importantly, though, Dr. Farley taught that through this Christian tradition that reaches back through history to the earliest Christians, and some scholars suggest even to Jesus himself, it is possible to interact with God in a way that builds a loving relationship and that can build a theology inspired by God’s Divine interest and love for each individual.
Stephanie is a first year divinity student at Wake Forest School of Divinity. Her passions include thinking creatively about social justice, visiting her family in southern Missouri, and reading or reflecting over a steamy mug of coffee.