Somewhere in my professional reading I once read about a study that investigated the setting that helped agitated people find calm. I believe this was meant to aid building designers choose the right location for projects housing prisoners or people with mental health problems. The study showed the ideal setting for reducing anxiety was one in which people could view water through the trees. This was the answer for the whole population, not just troubled people.
Makes sense to me. My favourite place is sitting on the deck at my mother’s house, high in the branches of oaks and maples, looking out on a glassy-calm Lake Clear. I can’t think of a more restful setting.
In my work as a therapist, I often deal with people who are stressed out by their busy lives: married to their work, trying to keep pace with technology, navigating life-stage changes, driving their children to countless activities, caring for elderly parents, feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and exhausted. This psalm of David reminds us that God is calling us to sabbath-to take time to rest with God-and for awhile at least, to put all our cares and burdens on the one who is our good shepherd.
God, when my soul needs restoring, show me the still waters and comfort me. Amen. — PDH