Sometimes with all good intentions, we think we are hearing and communicating correctly. But if you have a mind like mine – you may be missing things and actually skipping ahead.
Check Engine light on a 1996 Dodge Caravan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This happened the other day. I was sure that Greg had said something. My car had a flashing “check engine light” all the way to church. He had preceded me to church to play drums for the youth, taking part in the services. I got to church and found Greg to tell him about the flashing light. A solid “check engine light” is nothing new to this car. There are things that eventually need to be fixed and we’ve done everything we can – or I should say everything we want to spend money on. But this flashing light was something new. As I finished letting Greg know – I was sure that he said, “I’ll need to call Steve about that and during the message I can go out and take a look – it’s the only time I have to do that”. He started to walk back up to the drums and I asked, “do you have your keys to the car”? He looked at me blankly for a moment and then said rather cautiously, “yes” – with a sidelong glance.
For a second I wondered why. Greg never carries more keys on his person than he has to. He usually never has my car keys because he has his truck keys. But since retiring from a night window washing job he had been able to lighten up the load of keys he was carrying around for that job. Maybe, I thought – he has permanently put my keys on his truck ring. I guess that’s it, I reasoned.
The song service and special youth numbers came to a close and it was the time right before the message. Greg came down from the platform and placed his phone and other papers beside me and said, “I’ll be right back”. I thought, “good – he’s going to look at that light and make sure the car isn’t going to blow up while I’m driving home!” In about 5 minutes he was back – sneaking in during the prayer time. I whispered, “is everything okay??” He didn’t answer. I said again, “is it okay??” He looked at me puzzled – as if he didn’t hear me and said, “what?” I whispered directly in his ear, “the car – is it okay??” He answered, “I don’t know I didn’t look – I went to the bathroom.” “But didn’t you say you were going to look at the car during the message?” “No”.
It was a most frustrating but amusing moment. I had evidently skipped ahead to another whole chapter – maybe even two or three! When Greg joined me at home later that morning we had a fun time trying to figure out just what he had meant. He had absolutely no recollection of saying what he did! Nothing about checking the engine during the message – nothing!! You can imagine how we laughed when he thought I was asking him how he did in the bathroom! And why was I asking if he had the keys to the car! Funny – good times!
I was pondering this funny moment since it happened on Mother’s Day. How many times do I skip ahead feeling justified to ask for answers, demand results and more often than I want to admit – am impatient with those not on our same page? More than once – I can assure you.
I hear and fill in those empty spaces with things I want – or that sound logical to me, forgetting that not everyone thinks like me. This happens too often and reminds me that I must slow down - not only my words – but also my thought process. Slowing down is hard for me. My body may not always cooperate but my mind has always been quick. I have always been a step or two ahead. I am a planner. I like to have things organized – especially in my thinking. In this way I can feel in control.
But what does God require of me?
Be still and know that I am God
There it is. Be still. What does that mean? To be still is to be quiet in my mind. Meditate on God’s love and peace breathed in my life. Nothing else. No agenda, no planning, no anticipating. No skipping ahead.
This is a daily discipline for me. To slow down. Take one day as it comes with all its wonders and discoveries. To ponder. To relish, reflect and to be still.
My prayer for you today is that you too will slow down. You will appreciate the little things. Take time to stop and ponder. Really listen. Stop planning three steps ahead. To be still.
And may your spouse always be effective in communicating just what they mean.