Don’t go to sleep one night.
What you want most will come
to you then.
Warmed by a sun inside, you’ll see wonders.
I’m not very good at being quiet. Internal stillness is not a natural state for me. To tell the truth, external stillness isn’t my strong suit either. I’m always busy doing something. I don’t like to wait, and I’m beginning to realize this does not leave me space for the quiet reflection and meditation necessary to be the healthy, peaceful, joy-filled me that I aspire to.
Many things in my life are pointing towards the need for more quiet, but recently the benefit of internal stillness became a felt experience as I kept an all-night vigil as part of an honor I received in the Boy Scouts.
I was instructed to stay up and stay mentally awake all night while I kept a fire burning until morning. I wasn’t sure if I could stay awake all night—the days of college parties and cram sessions before
finals are becoming distant memories. But it turns out that when I was outside on a warm, star-filled night, watching a fire that was mine to tend, and reflecting on all that had brought me to that spot—staying awake was easy.
As the hours passed, and I waited for morning, I began to think about all the people I love. After a while I simply became love. I was quiet, I was still like a morning lake, able to reflect back whatever was in front of me—it was a deeply moving experience, unlike anything I have felt before.
I wrote Stephen a letter that night and tried to share what I was feeling as I sat waiting by my fire. I’ll share a little of it here.
“When it became clear that having our own children was not our path, you began praying for the thing that would keep us young, engaged, and let us make a difference. You realized way before I did that Scouting could be the answer to that prayer. I had no idea back in 2009 that I would ever be where I am tonight—but—WOW, what a beautiful and powerful source of commitment, service, community, learning, sharing, and service Scouting now is in my life.
"Thank you Stephen for the huge role you have played in getting me to this beautiful spot by a fire I will tend til’ morning, keeping a vigil that I will always remember, and striving to be the most honest, helpful, kind, loyal, loving, and compassionate person I can be.”
When I sit quietly things often become clearer, my life keeps showing me this. Keeping vigil by my fire I felt a deep and abiding love—for myself, my world, and all the people in it. I realized how many times I am deeply blessed by the thing I did not see coming. The thing that, to begin with, I did not choose.
So stay awake, keep a vigil of your own. The night sky has secrets to share.