She Only Had to Follow: A Fictional Truth

By simóne banks

I often watched her prepare for her day. Every day, in the same way. 
An early rising, 
the Bible, 
prayer
and a little coffee. 

She’d soak in the morning sun, in her favorite chair by the window.  The quietness of our home and the stillness of life — they were her perfect company. 

This was ritual. 

It was more than a practice. Preparation was her lifeline, her mantra, her “soul’s voice” she’d say. And, she had to answer.  

Her favorite verse was Psalm 46:10, Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. She relished the idea that God was working everything out. 

She only had to follow. 
She only had to listen. 

I observed this behavior for years and often tried to mimic it. I’d wake up early, purposely placing my Bible beside my bed the night before, for ease of reading it. With so many attempts, I envied her way of rising early and staying awake. I wanted to begin my day like hers, ground myself or as she’d say one day, “control my daily outcome”.

“You must, at all times, be in control,” she shared one morning over homemade bread and jam. “Being prepared is staying ahead, knowing the course, knowing your outcome.” She predicted the outcome of everything: her conversations, the end of a film, the moment she knew a relationship was over, and she even read the endings of books before she started them. “I want to know how it ends,” she’d say. 

“Isn’t that the point of reading the book?” I’d respond.

“I’d rather know how it ends, I don’t like surprises.”

That day, I ate in silence. I imagined how exhausting it had to feel praying for control of an outcome already destined. 

“Be still and know.”  

I imagined how many days of her life slipped by without the pulse of her heart pressed on her day’s experiences or the weight of her steps fully immersed in all that her day brought. 

“Be still and know.”

I imagined how lonely it must have felt, each morning, waking up to preparation and living a life of yesterday while preparing for tomorrow.

“Be still and know.”

I knew I had to find my own hidden place. 

----

She said I am a hidden place... 
A place of comfort, a place of truth.
Where love is. 
My smile, my light, everything she sees. 
“Do you see it?” She asks. 

Said, I am a hidden place...
What does that mean? 
How does one wear that adornment? 
It sounds beautiful. It feels delicate. 
I am neither. 

I am a hidden place... 
Single now, to find such. 
Leaving what and who I knew, for me, the one I didn’t. 
I read, I pray, I cry.
Where is it? 
Who is it? 
How is it that I don’t know?

A hidden place…
An indwelling Spirit. 
A wild voice.
“God is, therefore I am. God is, therefore I am. God is, therefore I am.”
A morning mantra.
To be still and know. To be still and trust. To be still and listen. 
The haunting thoughts of possibility, without doubt, worry or fear.

Hidden place…
A stealing away within yourself.
Breath
Illuminating light where no darkness can be found.
A ritual. A practice. A consistency. A discipline. 

Place
Your heart. 
My mind.
Our lives.
Our voice.
Our thoughts.
The One Life. The One Presence. The One Light.
You.
Me.

"When life descends into the pit I must become my own candle willingly burning myself to light up the darkness around me." - Alice Walker, By The Light Of My Father’s Smile

PHOTO: CANDICE WILSON

PHOTO: CANDICE WILSON

simóne banks writes for BGIO because she adores BGIO as a space that has been created in the name of freedom. Through her words, she gifts herself the permission to live a more full, abundant, gentle and loving life. simóne trusts in the vision and mantra of BGIO and knows that she has a place setting at the table of creativity that we all receive nourishment from and believes that this is really beautiful. Find simóne on Instagram (@ifyoustayedover).