Yesterday as I was on my way to Cameron's school to supervise the after-school activities of fifth and sixth graders, I was thinking about how much I love to be in certain places at certain times. I love being in schools, hospitals, churches--at least in part because the priorities are so much clearer there. Unlike in business, where the "bottom line" is always a ghostly shadow hovering around all goals and expectations, in helping professions, the focus is on the individual: slowing down and helping a child learn, becoming sensitive to and helping alleviate another's pain, taking tender care to be present with the spirit of another.
As I thought about this, a new thought occurred to me. I wanted to take that idea deeper. What was it about having those clear priorities that was so freeing to me? The answer--the struggle for right and wrong goes out the window. The illusory division between being "good" or "bad" disappears. The striving to achieve dissolves and acceptance floods in. There is only the person, the child, the spirit, God. There is joining and there is peace. And the empty categories we strive for in the dollar-driven world-- "smart", "strategic," "business-savvy," "successful" --fade as we learn to be tenderly present and available to another.
I realized then that as I was driving through the October-colored countryside, seeing the sunlight filtering through orange and red leaves, I was living a "no-stress moment." Right then. I just wasn't noticing it. What stands between us and the peace of God in this moment? Maybe only echoes of expectations that don't really matter when we choose to turn our minds and hearts to God.