Basic Human Needs

To have a place to stand is a basic human need in order that I know where I belong, and it is necessary both in relation to the places and people in my life.  It means, above all, that I have time and space for listening to the Word of God in all the many ways that God is reaching out to me.  That will be totally impossible if I am always running, late, distracted, feeling ajar and torn apart.  — Esther de Waal in A Life-Giving Way

I ran across these words recently from Esther de Waal, and my reaction was immediate:  okay, who isn’t always running, late, distracted or feeling ajar?  Her words are a reminder of how antithetical to the Spirit our modern life tends to be.  In the midst of all of our demands and commitments, when it comes to our spiritual life, we often don’t leave ourselves the time and space necessary for listening for the “many ways that God is reaching out….”

As Esther de Waal says so well, we need a place to stand — I would perhaps modify that a bit to say, we need a place to stand still.  Ms. de Waal is bold enough to call this a basic human need — yet, I wonder how often we claim this need, and make it a priority in our lives.  We do make room for other needs — we manage to find time to eat every day, we all sleep at least a little, we bathe ourselves, we cloth ourselves, we meet our obligations toward work, school and family.  But in a culture that values activity and accomplishment, letting people in our lives know that we are taking a few minutes to stand still requires a bit of courage.  Yet, this is precisely how we get to know ourselves more deeply, and it is precisely how we make room to hear what God may be trying to say to us.

Just as we acknowledge the basic human needs of our bodies, I wonder if we could also acknowledge the basic human need of our soul.  The basic need to stand still for a little while every day, and just listen to what comes out from the silence and stillness at the center of ourselves.

I wonder how that might begin to change our lives, and our relationships…….

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