One day last month I was walking home from running errands. I made choices on that trip home to walk instead of hop on the subway for one stop and to go down this street rather than that one. It was a lovely fall day and I was happy to be walking in it through a pretty and quiet neighborhood on my way home.
As I approached home–I was maybe three blocks from the apartment–when a black SUV pulled up next to me. The driver rolled down the window, looked at me expectantly and asked: “Linda?” In that moment my mind had a mini explosion. What the …?
Once again he asked: “Linda? Uber for Linda?” And I thought: “oh, no, I accidentally called for an Uber…but how?” My phone was tucked away in my bag.
You see, I have a name that is, while familiar, rare. People have stopped naming their newborns Linda. And I think they stopped a long time ago because I never even hear that name among adults.
I didn’t have time to process when a young 20-something year old came up behind me and said: “I am Linda.” With that she climbed into the SUV and it sped off.
“Be still. The stones are trying to call your name.”
I am reminded of these words by a poet whose name I am afraid I cannot remember. But I remember the words and what they ask of me as I reflect later on my Uber moment. I wonder how many times the stones have tried to call my name and I haven’t heard? How many times a day, an hour, even a minute does God whisper to me; call out to me; or sing my name and I cannot hear.
This time of year is ripe for stillness and paying attention. Shepherds waiting patiently in the field–still, yet alert, listening–ready to receive the message the angels will share with them.
We often think of waiting as passive, simply hanging out until the moment we are waiting for. We feel the need to multi-task while we wait…I know I do. I cannot let a moment go to waste and so often my mind is on the arrival of that moment I am waiting for …when this happens or that finally happens then…
But Henri Nouwen, a theologian, writes in an essay about what he calls active waiting. He says:
“Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you wait to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is THE moment.”
Be still (alert, listening). The stones are trying to call your name.
In that moment when the Uber driver called my name, I was lost in the revery of that walk rather than alert. His call snapped me back into the moment. I would very much like to be present for even a fraction of my day to hear the whispers, calls and singing of the Divine.
I wonder…how that song named “Linda” goes?