The Thinking Bench

A Reflection by Sister Jane Geiger, MHSH

Quite a few years ago I was visiting my family in New Jersey.  My sister and her four young children were visiting from Iowa at the same time.  I received the delightful assignment of entertaining the young’uns while my sister prepared the dinner.

Our family home was in the country and part of the expanse in front of the house was a terraced rock garden leading down to a small fish pond.  I took my nieces and nephews on a nature walk through the woods, played some hide-and-seek and did a lot of running around.  My eye was on the bench by the pond.  I had an inspired thought:  “Why don’t we go sit on the “Thinking Bench” (a term I had just made up).

For some reason they thought that was a unique idea and we all sat on the bench…in quiet…thinking.  Now, of course I don’t know what they thought about, I just knew that “old” Aunt Jane needed to take a time out and get reoriented for the next activity.

Now, many years later—and really an old lady—I still have a Thinking Bench.  Adjacent to our Mission Helper Center is a protected wildlife area which we owned before we downsized to our corner location.  In it is a marsh surrounded by a fence and a walking path used by many in the neighborhood.  Along the path is a bench, a Thinking Bench.

I still need it, and for the same reason:  to take time out and get reoriented for the next activity.

There I take in the beauty of nature.  The surrounding trees wear every shade of green and each has its unique shape and leaf formation.  Once in a while a deer will emerge and strut across the field with all its grace and dignity.  Not to be outdone, the fox will also put in an appearance.  He will walk down the path, stop and give in to that playful curiosity foxes are known to have.  And there are rabbits, nibbling away and pretending indifference until they hop off into the bushes.

There is a calm as well as a movement at that spot.  Something shifts and is different, deeper. God is present.  Life is reordered and perspectives change. It is good to stay in that space for however long…a space where there are no words, rather a feeling and a knowing…

And then it is time to go back down the path…but the knowing lingers.

Reflection:  Where is your Thinking Bench—your special place of feeling and knowing?

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2 Responses to The Thinking Bench

  1. Jane, I love it! Mary Ita

  2. Sister Dolores Chepiga SSJ says:

    Jane, I often saw you on your “thinking bench” when I took my walks in that area which I appreciated so much.. What a creative idea to give to children! I shall remember it. Dolores SSJ

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