As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
[Psalm 42:1 NRSV]
A young deer was cautiously watching me as I stood at my copier making a few copies of some music to put in my organ binder for Sunday’s church service. I spied her as I looked through the patio door while I waited for the copies to print. Slowly and quietly I pulled my camera out of my desk drawer, slid open the patio door, took about ten steps toward the pond, and snapped the picture. One picture is all I got before the deer decided to flee into the cover of the woods behind her. I hope she was able to get her drink of water first. I hope she feels safe enough to come back for more drinks whenever she’s thirsty.
Seeing the deer beside the pond in my back yard immediately brought to mind the Psalm that begins – “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”
Throughout the month of September, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the noisy and busy world we live in. “The Monastic Way” pamphlet written by Joan Chittister has been prompting me to think about these things, especially about how important it is to live my life intentionally rather than just going along with whatever happens. How important it is to take time to examine my life and to think about what I’m doing with the time that I have. It was Socrates who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
It’s important to think about my life and how my daily activities are forming that life, but in order to do that self-examination in our busy, noisy world, it’s necessary to find some way to be where it is quiet, a place where we can take the time to meditate, away from the noise and distractions. Chittister quoted Hans Margolius as saying, “Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”
Is it really possible to quiet our minds in today’s fast-paced, noisy world? “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” We seem to have a natural thirst for quiet time together with God, “to see the world undistorted,” “to examine our lives,” and to think about the life God has called us to live.
Some days we may be able to set aside just a few minutes of quiet time with our thoughts and with God. Other times, perhaps, we can schedule more time, maybe even a whole day, or even several days to ponder our lives and focus our attention on drawing closer to God, on understanding our purpose in life.
Music is something that helps me quiet my soul for prayer and meditation. Here are links to four YouTube music videos that just might be a good start for some quiet meditation today.
AS THE DEER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZv3jzOTE70&feature=related (with lyrics)
AS THE DEER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wzWWggsOJI (piano only with wonderful pictures)
TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zut3rCzk6bw (Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but with less commonly used tune for this hymn)
TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMlsifnlQN8 (Instrumental version with original tune. Lyrics shown over scenic pictures.)