Friday, May 1, 1998
Stilling the Water
by Tracy Duncan
The Chinese sage, Lao-tse says, "Muddy water, let stand, become clear."
It is so difficult in our society to "let stand." Ours is the way of action. If something isn't right, fix it. If it's in your way, move it. Work it out. Go for it. Get with the program. Several of us were talking at coffee hour about the Mosquito article [March 20th issue] which featured folks who'd grown up here, comparing their lives with that of their children. Sadness and concern for today's kids were expressed. Over booking is now the expected norm. How will children learn to make their own decisions if they are constantly supervised? Where is the time for imagination? For just being? We wondered. How can we learn the value of "let stand" if we are constantly on the move?
has brought early blossoms to Boston. Last Saturday, cherry trees and
star magnolias bloomed in the now-cold wind, forced to light early by
that spate of summertime weather. Usually I rejoice at blossom time,
but this season, amidst the joy, I worry. It's still early enough for
a hard frost, which would kill the flowers. We all sighed in luxurious
contentment during the warmth, and now marvel at the early wonders it
wrought, but all could be destroyed overnight because it's too early,
really, for them to be here. Often I think that we treat our children
Let stand. Time is of the essence, but not in the way we normally think. Natural processes take time to unfold properly. Lao-tse understood. When things get crazy or unclear, they will settle if we let them be. We learn this only if we have time to stand and watch—to be, simply be. Please, nurture the courage that will allow you to trust the children in your life to the natural way of things, which is sometimes harsh, and often slow. They will survive and be much hardier than any early-forced hothouse flowers, doomed to die when exposed to the real world, no matter how beautiful they may be under glass.
[Ed. note: Tracy Duncan is the Director of Religious Education for the First Religious Society. This article first appeared in the FRS newsletter, April 20, 1998.]