According to Wikipedia, the word selah appears seventy-one times in the book of Psalms. Though it does not have a direct translation, two possible meanings are “stop and listen” and “pause, and think of that.” Psalms are often read as songs or poems, and the selah reminder woven throughout seems most appropriate. As I travel through life, I very often need prompts to stop or pause, as well as to listen and think of that.
I am grateful that my husband Mark and I have had the gift of selah over the past several days. Thanks to my parents, we were able to get away to a lovely bed and breakfast in the mountains of western North Carolina. The Buck House Inn was the perfect place to pause.
We ventured up to Bald Mountain and spent a few hours trekking along the Appalachian Trail. This journey sparked my imagination about the millions of moments of selah that have taken place along this 2190 mile trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. I said out loud to my husband, “There is nowhere within our city life that we can experience this depth of silence.” Quiet restores my soul.
The white rectangular trail markers were sprinkled all along our way. I imagine that the blue marker has invited many a weary traveler to refill the necessary water supplies for each particular journey.
When we saw this sign up on a tree, we decided to veer off and explore. We met four hikers who had spent a selah night in the midst of a two day hike. The basic shelter provided was much different than where we were spending our nights.
As we interacted with others staying at the inn, we heard much talk of Hurricane Matthew since many loved ones of those we met were in the path of this storm. All the chatter took me back to my own South Florida childhood and a particular time when we met our neighbors out on the cul-de-sac where I lived. The skies were blue and there was great calm. But it only lasted for a short time as we all headed back inside. It was the eye of the hurricane, an eerily silent and calm respite in the midst of chaos. It was a chance to stop and listen to the eerie yet peaceful silence in between the roaring wind and pounding rain on either side of the pause.
We were escorted up the mountain in an ATV, all terrain vehicle. On the bumpy journey, we crossed paths with a bride and groom who had planned to be married in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday. That was before the hurricane evacuation. They scrambled and were tending to myriad details in their new wedding venue, a beautiful outdoor mountain pavilion, over 300 miles away from their original plan. I wish for them times of selah after this weekend as they both celebrate and recover after a whirlwind of change for bride, groom, and over one hundred guests.
Whether you are in the midst of a storm or just living life at a pace of busyness and amidst clutter that rarely offers silence, I hope you can find places of selah. How do you stop and listen in the midst of the everyday? How do you pause, and think of that, when life feels out of control?