One of the highlights of a holiday we took to New York City a few years ago was taking the Big Bus Tour. What a great operation they have going.
A fleet of busses take two different routes- one uptown and one downtown- setting off every ten minutes or so. Once you buy a ticket, you can get on any bus on any one of about twenty stops around the city. Or you can ride the entire tour start to finish listening to the your guide tell you some very interesting facts about the Big Apple.
It’s commonly known as a ‘hop on, hop off’ service.
I’m good at hopping on things. New ideas. New work tasks. New guitars. New songs. New movies. I can hop on at a glance! Some of these things are good. Some are really great. Some, not so. But they’re busy things. They’re ‘doing’ things. They keep me active alright, but they could also keep me distracted from the meaning and the meaningful.
I reflected this week about how good I am at ‘hopping off’: taking time to be quiet and still and just ‘be’; taking time to pray and connect to God (please feel free to use your own words or concepts here); taking time to take stock and re-order life. Truth be told, I write about it more than actually practice it.
I remember a lovely experience of ‘hopping off’ during that holiday to New York City that has stayed with me since. I got up early and walked about a mile from where we were staying and walked to the church of St Malachy’s on 48 Street. It’s known as ‘The Actor’s Church’ because it is in the heart of the theatre district. I got there about 7am. It was quiet and there were only two or three other hardy souls there. I took some time in the silence (a rare commodity in New York and indeed in most places now) and just sat there thinking and praying. I prayed, sat in silence and wrote a poem but other than that there was no real ‘outcome’ or product other than the time of ‘hopping off itself’. It felt like good time. I feel now that I to take more of it.
How do you do at ‘hopping off’? Do you take regular quiet, reflective time? Do you seek to know more about the the meaning and living out of life? Or are you like me and more caught up in ‘hopping on’ things?
My prayer is that we come to understand the great benefit of taking time in quiet reflection, and that in that quiet time we meet God- the God who is waiting in anticipation, love and acceptance of you and I.