Just a touch ...
A Christian Science perspective: "A touch of infinite calm" is accessible to each of us.
It flooded the crimson twilight
Like the close of an angelâ€™s psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â from â€śA lost chordâ€ť
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Adelaide A. Procter, 1825-1864
I came across those lines in Mary Baker Eddyâ€™s work, written in 1900 (â€śMessage to The Mother Church for 1900,â€ť p. 11). Mrs. Eddy, a New Englander, lived from 1821 to 1910. Perhaps itâ€™s not surprising to find sheâ€™d quoted Ms. Procter, but suddenly it felt like a beautiful thing: that a 19th-century New England woman â€“ particularly one I love and respect, whose life provides a deep and thrilling measure to my every day â€“ would be quoting her British contemporary. Further digging revealed that Procterâ€™s short book of verse, first published in 1858, went through eight printings, including one in Boston, which suggests the not-so-surprising connection.
Sitting at the organ, â€śweary and ill at ease,â€ť Procter had struck a chord â€ślike the sound of a great Amen.â€ť Washed over by an â€śinfinite calm,â€ť she wrote that â€śit quieted pain and sorrow,/ Like love overcoming strife.â€ť
An infinite calm. Too much to ask? Maybe.
Still the more I thought about calm as infinite â€“ everywhere, without limit â€“ the more it felt accessible. Simply present. To have. To share. To feel. To be.
The word â€ścalmâ€ť has been described as a period, or condition, of freedom from storms, high winds, or rough activity of water; a state of tranquility.
Wow. Think of it. To be free, entirely free of storm or rough activity. To be perpetually tranquil.
Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s poem â€śIf,â€ť much quoted, suggests that if you keep your calm while those all around you lose theirs, youâ€™ve done much. I love that, yet find nothing in his poem that tells me about the â€śhow to.â€ťÂ
But Eddy does tell me. â€ś[I]n speechless prayer, ask God,â€ť she wrote, â€śto enable you to reflect God, to become His own image and likeness, even the calm, clear, radiant reflection...â€ť (â€śThe First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,â€ť p. 150).
And this: â€śO glorious hope! there remaineth ... peace in Love. The thought of it stills complaint; the heaving surf of lifeâ€™s troubled sea foams itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calmâ€ť (â€śMessage to The Mother Church for 1902,â€ť p. 19).
The mere thought of Love divine stilling even deep-seated heavings.
Lacing each moment with grace in deep-settled infinite calm.
And why not.Â
In the morning, O Lord,
you hear my voice;
in the morning
I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Psalms 5:3, New International Version, 1984