The timing all worked out. I missed the appointment completely. The details all worked out, I didn’t bring my work backpack with my laptop. The car I was driving didn't have my usual "what I can do when there is a change in schedule" items. All my usual preparing to be prepared went by the wayside. The timing all worked out. I had and hour and fifteen minutes until it was time to pick up my friend from the airport and no laptop to fill that time with work, no journal or knitting. The details all worked out as I wasn’t equipped to keep plowing through my work list or do there other things I will do when there is a change in plans.
Dan had gone early to his doctor’s appointment -I was going to meet him. He needed to get his new insurance information sorted out so he got there early. I was running late. He got in to see the doctor before his scheduled appointment.Subsequently, by the time I arrived eight minutes late for the scheduled appointment his doctor visit was over and Dan was walking down the hallway as I arrived. Perfect timing.
Now, instead of the time I had scheduled for the usual wait of 10-15 minutes after the appointed time plus the time of the appointment - Dan and I were walking to our vehicles. Dan on his way north to his job and me in that in-between- now unscheduled and unplanned time of 40 minutes. What to do?
To head home was in the opposite direction of the airport and I would just be spending that time driving. To head to work? I didn’t have my work backpack with my laptop since in the original plan and timing I would only have time to go from the doctors appointment then to the airport. Now it was Plan B. It was perfect timing. Although in that moment I didn't quite believe this was perfect timing. My plans were not going to work. I was unsure of next steps.
In these times I have learned to pause, to breathe, to ask for G.O.D.- Good Orderly Direction and inspiration. And since we have been exploring Angels in August -I have also been intentional in asking for protection for my loved ones and myself. Sometimes that protection I need is from myself. In this pause, the quiet, instead of the self-doubt around timing, plans, schedule I was reminded in that moment that it was a Tuesday.
It was Tuesday just before 10am. From the location of the doctors’s office the timing would be perfect to go and sit at church. Centering prayer takes place every Tuesday morning at 10am in the sanctuary. Tuesdays I usually attend a preacher’s text study so I haven’t been able to attend this time before. Today it would work out. Perfect timing. God knew I needed the quiet. Angels were protecting me from the frustration of a change in plans and from the weariness of the night before allowing for the harsh inner critic to rear her unpleasant head. In this now moment of “in-between” the space opened up for me to go and sit in silence. To hear Myrna read. To look at the lit candles. To close my eyes and breathe. In the silence it the message came; be still.
In Centering Prayer the practice is to allow for space, for quiet, to focus on the sacred word you choose. Here is a short video on Centering Prayer. And on this particular day the timing was perfect. Yahweh is most often my sacred word. As we finish up the Angels in August preaching series we will return for our last week- to God as the Center and Source reflecting upon the Bible story of Daniel and the lions den (Daniel 6:10-23) Psalm 46 and the Resurrection appearance in Matthew 28:1-10.
There were times this past week that were heartbreaking and challenging and although not as intense as some “lion’s den” moments I have had in the past- the silence, the centering, the breath, the scripture were balm for my soul. To be still. Centering prayer can certainly be practiced at just about anytime and in any place if we create the space and I am so grateful that Myrna has been committed to holding this particular space on Tuesday mornings at 10am.
The angel tells Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, “Do not be afraid..”. In the quiet of that Tuesday morning the fears from the days before got quieted. As the women ran to tell the disciples that Jesus was risen from the dead he suddenly appears to them- stopping them in their tracks. Rejoice, be glad, hail, delight in God’s grace he says to them. Interrupted by God's grace in the flesh. The Risen Savior is there. They take hold of his feet and worship him. Nothing that Easter morning was as they had planned.