For those who know me very well will know that I have a long term attachment to the term “Still and Settled Place” I believe there is one of these places for us all. Somewhere that you need to go to when times get hard, when things don’t go quite your way or when you just want some peace or time to reflect on a decision you need to make in your life. Like that moment when you need to decide what you are going to do with your life – do you make that decision to apply for university, if so which course? I mean it’s going to help shape the rest of your life.
I still vividly remember that moment for me. I did just that. I went to my still and settled place. The decision for me was whether I applied to do a degree in nursing, the career that I had always always dreamt of doing or did I change my lifelong plans and apply for a course in sociology which I was loving learning about and was excelling in at college (and eventually got an A in?) An afternoon in my still and settled place and I reflected, felt the sea breeze and followed my heart. I applied, qualified and am a paediatric nurse. My point? Not about the A levels that have just come out, that just happens to be an example I can give about my still and settled place. My point is about finding that place, that place that you just know you can go to no matter what and it will always be the same. It will create a calmness within you that you can’t quite explain or put into words despite the turmoil or chaos you may be experiencing.
My still and settled place is the sea(side). Really it’s the sea. In itself I know that sounds odd, the sea can be rough, crashing, splashing, loud anything but peaceful. It can of course be a brilliant blue, tranquil and very very still. Admittedly in the UK this hardly happens but there is always that chance. But to me none of that matters, it doesn’t matter if it is pouring with rain and the waves are rough and high and its so windy it’s impossible to catch your breath. To be honest the worse the weather the more still and settled inside I can become. I also have no allegiance to any particular seaside. Of course I do like some particular beaches and views and probably one of the most beautiful locations in the world would be standing on the edge of Pendennis Castle overlooking Falmouth Bay in Cornwall. Amazing. Its a 360 degree view of the harbour, sea, land, sky, the world, and endless dreams. (And the reason Daddy Lloyd and I decided it was the perfect location to get married in).
Since the day we left Harry behind at the hospital I have been wanting to go somewhere. I have had an overwhelming desire to run. Just to run and never stop but I couldn’t decide where to run to. A couple of times I have said to Daddy Lloyd lets just go to the sea, so I can look. But as soon as I said it I answered for him and said no. I was actually scared of visiting my still and settled place. I wasn’t ready to feel the relief the sea and the fresh air gives me, to feel it spread through my veins. I wasn’t ready to feel calm.
This all encompassing grief is hard, and its hitting me in so many deep ways, I never thought anything would be able to knock my own belief that in times of quandary the sea will hold the answer. But yesterday I did it. I went to the sea, I went with no preconceived ideas, I went with no answer wanting to be found, I went not to reflect on the recent weeks or to even feel calm. I went because my world was so chaotic I needed a break. And one of my best friends just so happens to live 10 minutes away from Brighton seafront.
And a break it was. B Lloyd loved playing
on the beach in the stones that make up Brighton beach. We had an ice cream with a flake and we had a fun day out. I only had a few minutes alone with the sea, looking out into the horizon and it was enough. It was enough for me to know when the time is right, my still and settled place will be there. I needed to know that it would still be the same, everything else around me is so different and I am slowly learning that it will stay different, and that will be ok, but I needed to know this would be the same.
Tonight I frantically had to find a card that Daddy Lloyd sent to me years ago. He was living in the US at the time and found a card entiled That Still and Settled Place. And I needed to read those words again, there was a moment of panic when I couldn’t find it (and my memory box looks like a ransacked bomb right now but I found it) And I want to share the words, they very simply sum up what I have been trying to say through this whole post!
That Still and Settled Place
In that STILL and SETTLED place
There’s nobody but you
You’re where I BREATH my oxygen
You’re where I SEE my view
And When the world feels full of noise
My HEART knows what to do
It finds that STILL and SETTLED place
And DANCES there with YOU
These words are Copyrighted to – The interesting thoughts of Edward Monkton. Thank you Edward Monkton (whoever you are!) your words have always been held in a very special place in my heart.