Once again I found myself dashing out the door after…my quiet time of Bible study and prayer, making the bed, writing two get-well cards (couldn’t put that off another day), printing some documents to read and prepare with comments, breakfast, showering, drying my hair, putting on make-up, getting dressed, etc., etc.
I hurried to get in the car, and checked my watch. In twenty minutes I was due to meet Steve at church , about fifteen minutes away. I had just enough time to stop for gas. After the fill-up, and back in the car, I checked the time again. The pit stop had taken four minutes. If the traffic lights worked with me instead of against me, I’d arrive at my destination with a couple of minutes to spare. Whew.
In the peaceful quiet of the car, I prayed as I often do: “Lord, help me be a blessing to those I meet today. May I be an attentive listener, speak words of encouragement, and maybe even share a bit of wisdom from you.”
Soon I was pulling into the church parking lot. According to the dashboard clock, I did indeed have two minutes to spare. Hallelujah.
With a deep cleansing breath (a holdover habit from Lamaze classes) and a smile, I opened the door…to this news from Steve:
“I’m so sorry, Honey. The computers at Northwestern Mutual just went down. I tried to call you, but you didn’t answer.” (Must have been while I was pumping gas.) “They said they’ll have to reschedule our meeting for next week.”
For a split second I wanted to say, “WHAT?! After all the rushing around I did this morning in order to get here on time? All that effort for NOTHING?! I have a long to-do list I could be tackling! This is so UNFAIR!”
But just who deserved that rant? Certainly not Steve. It wasn’t his fault the computers at Northwestern Mutual weren’t working. So just where could I direct my angst? Nowhere. I had to stuff it down.
And while I was stuffing, my prayer spoken in the car came to mind.
Oh, boy. I had just asked God to help me be a blessing to whomever I might meet. And when a small monkey wrench gets thrown my way I want to throw it back. Some blessing. Will the day ever come when I can react with a gentle and quiet spirit–even in the first moment of upset?
And speaking of upset, this little setback is nothing compared to the heartache and suffering of others. Why do I allow an inconsequential matter, like a postponed meeting, to steal my joy–even for a second?
God is still teaching me some important lessons (because I’m a slow learner):
- What seems to be a waste of time in my shortsightedness may not be, in God’s long view of eternity.
- The to-do list is not a binding, legal document. The wise person leaves space on the page and in her spirit for serendipitous possibilities.
- Changes of plan and interruptions (another bug-a-boo of mine) may be God-engineered events. Greet them with expectation and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
- Live in the present. Put aside the frustration that the plan for the day has been reconfigured. Accept the moment as a surprise gift–to be passed on to someone else who needs a favor, a listening ear, or a bit of encouragement. Another possibility? The moment may turn out to be a gift for you.
I did indeed receive a gift that day. Instead of attending that meeting, I ended up having an impromptu lunch with some of the church staff–a delightful group of people!
Steve has said for years, “Blessed are the flexible.”
I’m starting to catch on.
(Art & photo credits: www.diggerfortruth.com; http://www.marci-itsalwayssomething.blogspot.com; http://www.stevewright.info. com; http://www.morgansullivan.wordpress.com; http://www.eighthourday.com.)