Dear Hyde Park Family,
Are you an elephant or a frog?
Once upon a time there was an elephant standing in a pond happily eating some twigs. The twigs were so tasty and nutritious that he felt like he was in heaven. As he was about to take another bite, the twig slipped from his trunk and splashed into the water.
The elephant panicked and began hunting furiously for the twig. He thrashed around and stomped his feet in anger, making the water muddier and muddier. It became impossible to find that stick.
Nearby was a green frog, sitting on a log and basking in the sun. He watched the frantic elephant for several minutes, finally saying to him in a gentle voice:
“Be still.” But the elephant wasn’t listening. He was too busy splashing around.
“Be still,” whispered the frog. But the elephant kept on thrashing.
“Be still,” the frog said again. This time the elephant was so tired from searching that he stopped and said, “What did you say?”
“Be still,” repeated the frog.
“Be still? What good will that do?” yelled the elephant. “Don’t you understand? I’ve lost the tastiest stick in the whole jungle! How can you expect me to be still? I’ve got to find it!”
“Now, breathe,” said the frog. “Breath in slowly and deeply,” said the frog, “breathe in the stillness of the mountains.”
As the elephant breathed in and out, listening intently to the frog, the water of the pond became still. The mud and the dirt settled to the bottom.
“Now,” the frog said, “look down.”
When the elephant looked down, he saw the stick. He reached down and wrapped the end of his trunk around it, pulled it out, and happily began munching again.
If you’re like me (and many others), you have spent a lot of time and energy splashing and thrashing your way through life. It could be that what you need this Lenten season is a bit of friendly advice from that frog.
“Be still. Breathe.”
To encourage you in that practice, we invite you to participate in a special two-day event at The Portico from Friday, March 29 (6-9 p.m.) through Saturday, March 30 (8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.). It is called “Seeking Stillness,” and is for anyone wanting to experience silence in a busy world, whether you are a life-long practitioner or just beginning to explore meditation.
The featured event speaker is Carl McColman, a contemplative writer, speaker, and host of the podcast “Encountering Silence.” He will explore the foundation and practice of a variety of methods of contemplation and centering prayer. There will also be breakout sessions on Saturday on Taize and Lectio Divina, as well as a meaningful prayer walk along the river.
Visit seekingstillnesstampa.com for more information and to register.
And join us this Sunday as we continue our Lenten series “Getting Unstuck” as we engage the most problematic question in Christian belief: “Getting Unstuck from Suffering and Evil.”
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist