Psalm 131 is what we call “self-talk”. It is what we say to ourselves as we remind ourselves of what is important. And it is up to us to learn to quiet our hearts.
O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
I cannot come up with answers to all of the problems in the world. Not simple answers. When I read everything that people send my way, I cannot comprehend the size of the issues, nor can I sort through the avalanche of confident spitefulness. Not that I haven’t pursued it in the past. I have whimpered with the inconsolable voice of an infant for the attention of you and everyone else. I have joined in the arguments, offered solutions which seem clear to me, if only everyone were like me.
But I am learning to tell myself to stop. To act more like a child weaned from the craving for her mother as a dispenser of nutrition, content to cuddle. I am willing to stop trying to understand everything and to simply wait in the close presence of my father.
And as I walk around, I carry my soul quiet within me.
So here is the exercise.
Pick up a paper, watch a news program, read your Facebook stream. And at the first statement of arrogance, as the words begin to form on your tongue, the spitefulness at the person’s ignorance begins to bubble through your brain, turn the television off. Close the browser. Lay down the paper.
And literally, out loud, audibly, tell your soul to rest.
It seems impossible, doesn’t it. It seems easier to not turn on the news at all.
Perhaps that is the answer. Avoiding conflict at all costs is one way to not face turmoil. But I’m not sure that it teaches us to quiet our hearts.
In fact, I am pretty sure that people who don’t consume any media can still be cranky and indulge in wanting to run the world. After all, when these words were written, there was no internet.