time to stand and stare

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

April 2, 2013

robin spring

It’s the morning after the morning we remembered the mourning and celebrated the Morning.

D has risen early again, because it’s Monday and time to move into a new week of busyness as usual. I want to burrow down under white down, but there’s a light that shines in the dark, and I hear him move about the room. He bends over to kiss me goodbye. I won’t see him again until bedtime.

Dawn’s smearing rose on Horizon’s lips when I flip back the covers. Downstairs, I press the power buttons on computer and coffeepot, then go down another level to add a log to the fire.

Back at the kitchen table with a steamy mug, I check messages from my Facebook prayer group. Then my calendar. I breathe deep. Try not to choke.

How did I clutter up April so quickly? Four different book studies and two from last month I haven’t even gotten to. A couple other writing deadlines. And my own blog. A workshop and a retreat, softball and soccer practices for the grandgirl (and I suspect games that we don’t yet know about.) D is pressing me for my part of the income taxes, which means going over every statement online, clicking on almost every check since I haven’t kept up my check register for the last year. And my daughter has to have surgery. Plus all the usual day-to-day stuff and more corners to declutter.

Where’s the power-up button?

Through the window, I see the snow shaker tipped over again during the night. I know it’s spring. The calendar says so, and D brought the rockers and the bikes back from his sister’s house where we store them for the winter. A robin dances down the drive, and I can’t stay in here. I must move into the beauty, into the light.

I pull a powder blue jacket from the hook and slip it on over my long white robe, grab the camera, then scuff outside in my pink-and-green-striped slippers. (The neighbors are used to seeing me in strange get-ups.)

I’m stilled by the symphony of songs that surround me and mesmerized by how the light glints gold on green, shines on the bluebird house waiting, spills across the ground. I stand and take it all in.

Creation heaves heaven, but we pass it by. To brake and breathe, we think, might just break us.

And we’re all the poorer for it.

Sometimes we need to just stand and stare.

Because in the stares we find the stairs that move us above the mundane. We find splendor in each second, beauty in the midst of battle, webs of wonder woven through the week.

When I come inside with nose numb and fingers frozen, my calendar doesn’t look quite as daunting..

golden morning 2

golden morning 3

golden morning 4

golden morning 5

golden morning 6

robin golden


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 day light,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

~W.H. Davies in Songs of Joy and Others


  1. Patricia W Hunter

    So very lovely, Sandra…spilling beauty and Christ all over. I woke up this morning feeling many of those same pressures. Lord, as we stand or sit still to stare in Your face, please order our steps, that we may accomplish what’s important to You.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Amen to that!

      This should have posted earlier, but I didn’t schedule it right. Just another one of my oopses for the week–and it’s only Tuesday. 😉 So order, yes. I need some ordering.

  2. Martha Orlando

    Beautiful, Sandy . . . I will take the time to stand and stare today. Blessings to you!

    • Sandra Heska King

      So did you, Martha? Did you find time to stand and stare?

  3. Kathy

    Just what I needed today “to stand and stare,” or rather to be “still” and know that God is near. The moments when I take time to observe the beauty of the world around me makes my heart sing.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Hi, Kathy. It’s amazing what songs we hear and sing if we only take the time to still. I’m glad this spoke to you. Have a wonderful week, friend.

  4. Laura Boggess

    Oh glory to just stand and stare. Thank you for this slow pause for the holy in the midst of a busy day, Sandy. I love the way you gather beauty and bring to me in great heaps. So blessed for your gleaning.


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time to stand and stare

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 3 min