On Bench-Sitting…

My life moves pretty fast. Always has. I am running from one thing, to the next thing, with my mind three things ahead kind of girl. I rarely sit still, and when I do, I am either reading or watching. So that even when my body is still, my head and heart are still running along a good clip. During one particularly overwhelming season of speed, I was driving down Main Street, preparing to stop at the bank and the gas station, between my day job and my night class. I was trying to remember what day the next paper was due, when I saw someone sitting on a bench. Just. Sitting.

How can someone just be sitting on a bench in the middle of Main Street?

What do bench-sitters think about?

Where do bench-sitters come from?

Where do bench-sitters go when they are finished?

I had this complete mental cascade/breakdown as I considered bench-sitters. My life, could not be more different from a bench-sitter… if they were from Mars. Bench- sitters began to haunt me. What would it take for me to be a bench-sitter? Was I even capable of sitting and resting? Who decided that I needed to always be running so fast that sitting and thinking… Just. Sitting…. Could be so foreign?.

As a teenager, I was a bench-sitter. There was a bench (or picnic table) that looked out over a pond near where I lived. It had all the requirements necessary to be a good spot. It was out of sight of home and close to a soda machine. I remember spending hours just sitting. Thinking. Resting. Being still. What had happened to that girl?

I struggle to put down responsibility of adulthood, even for a moment. To just set it down and take a breath. I struggle to remember that the world does not revolve around my worry or my work. I struggle to consider that sometimes speed gets in the way of things that matter. I wonder if there are things for me to learn from bench-sitters.

Now, when I see a bench, it seems like a challenge. Can I sit? Can I rest? Can I stop? Sometimes, I will sneak away and find a quiet bench… and sit. and think.

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