"Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!"

Dear Friends,

Many are aware of the cultural idiom, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” This American cliché (although attributed to many) seems to have emerged from the 19th century character, “White Rabbit,” in the book “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. The statement is a commentary on the perils of inaction and the need to get busy engaging your life.

Surely this phrase is a well-spoken admonition for those who have learned to stay put on the sidelines of life and watch others engaging and helping by their actions. Every great cliché, however, is also open to what quoteinvestigator.com calls cultural “comical mutation.” Sometimes, life demands that we stop trying/working/moving, and just be still! “Don’t just Do Something, Stand there!” The Bible actually came up with this idea long before:
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10a
Most of you know that Cara and I have been down in Glendale, Arizona visiting our brand-new Granddaughter, Keegan Ember Rose Vick. Keegan is a Gaelic name and means “enduring flame.” Embers still glow, even when pulled away from a fire. Kyle and Caitlin hope and pray that their daughter will “be an enduring light for her generation when other lights begin to go out.”

Keegan is now three-and-a-half weeks old at this writing. Barring the triple-digit heat, we’ve greatly enjoyed our time getting acquainted and celebrating her new life. Children (and Grandchildren) are indeed a great gift and blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Life in the adult lane seems awfully swift and frequently overly busy and rushed. Babies have a way of bringing the “rushing & busy” life to a screeching halt. Their cadence is dependency, all the time.

Wednesday afternoon, Keegan took a two-hour nap on my chest as I reclined on the sofa. As I lay there with my eyes closed, listening to her soft, sleepy vocalizations, breathing, and occasional body movements, I was struck by this cultural idiom. My most important role at this moment was to BE STILL, to BE SILENT, and to BE ATTENTIVE to this precious life in my arms. And so, I practiced letting go of everything else that could occupy or busy myself. My “be-in-the-moment” goal was now to focus completely on this vulnerable, precious, sacred new life. “Don’t just do something, stand there!”

The truth is, this is a practice that infants desperately need from their parents. Dependency cultivates the necessity of relational love and devoted commitment to others before self. Honestly, infants aren’t the only ones who need healthy and continuous devotion of loving, caring deposits from others who value and validate the sacred worth of another person’s life. Every human being needs to know that they matter, they are special, they are valued, loved, important, and worthy of human dignity, friendship, and companionship.

I spent those two “reclining hours” praying to God for my Granddaughter. I was focused on nothing else but her life and the glory of God who created her. And now I’m wondering, for so many of us who are no longer snuggling babies, how and when, and for whom can we give the gift of attentive, deferential, valuing, prayerful love? Who are you praying for intensively and intentionally?

What would happen if we became a caring, loving, serving, and dignifying church? The world of tomorrow belongs to those who give it the greatest hope today!

Pastor David 😊

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