Stand and Stare

So here I am in Sainsburys car park, on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, doing the slow trolley shuffle.  I didn’t come at opening time, to let the early birds get finished first, but everyone else has obviously done the same thing. So here I am looking at the back of the man in front of me, 2m away – he’s got a book, why didn’t I think of that? No huddled-together queue this one, but a socially distant queue. One person emerges from the store, trolley laden and about 50 people, all 2 metres apart take a few quiet steps forward. As I stand here, and occasionally shuffle forwards I wonder if I have ever known it so peaceful here. The occasional murmur of a voice, a car in the distance, trolley wheels trundling by now and then but above all bird song and peace. It seems a funny place to find peace yet it is here. Ordinary people doing ordinary Saturday chores in extraordinary times but peacefully. No voices raised, no irritation or frustration. Is Sainsburys car park usually such a place of peace? I am ashamed to say I don`t know, I usually rush in and out so fast that I don`t notice. It reminds me of the poem, `Leisure` by William Henry Davies: a few lines here....


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

So, as I stand and stare, and notice the peace for the first time ever in this particular place, and listen to birds usually drowned by bustle, I wonder what other things l miss? What other whispers of Jesus go unnoticed because I am too busy? Or in too much of a rush? Conversations with Him I was invited to but missed. Moments of revelation I was blind to, moments of beauty I just didn’t see. What a shame! If peace is a manifestation of the presence of God, He is here this Saturday morning in this car park.
Perhaps this season of exile is an invitation to slow down, to notice, to stand and stare, and to be in the moment more than usual. To hear the quiet whisper of Father God, as He makes His presence known.


Suzanne Owen

This message was added on Friday 10th April 2020