Two experiences this morning caused me to pause not only my body, but my leader’s mind that seems to always churn, thinking about the next project or task.
This first occurred at a local diner as I ate breakfast with a friend. The both I choose gave me a view of the exterior entrance to the diner. Out of my peripheral vision, I noticed a middle-aged man walk up to the glass door. Nothing odd there…until he reached for the door handle. He missed it, by about a foot. For about fifteen seconds he kept fumbling with his right hand to find the handle. I thought that a bit odd at first. He finally opened the door. The view from where I sat also allowed me to see the inside entrance. As he walked in, the waitress spoke to him. Then she gently held his arm and directed him to a table. He was almost blind.
In an instant I felt both compassion toward this man and gratefulness for my vision.
When I arrived at the office an hour later, the second experience forced me again to push the mental pause button.
The older daughter of one of our admin staff takes care of a young boy confined to a wheelchair. His body is broken, he can’t speak, he drools, but his mind remains intact. She had left him alone in his wheelchair a few moments to go into our conference room. I stood at the end of the hall and noticed him alone. I walked up to him, patted him on the head and shoulder and said something like, “You’re a bit wet. That rain is a mess out there.” As drool slid off his lips, he responded was a loud grunt, the best his body would allow him to articulate.
As I reflect on these two experiences, I was reminded of a concept that Phil Yancey, the great author, described as ‘time between time.’ He explains that he tries to discipline himself to mentally pause between each day’s activity to reflect over what he just experienced and to prepare his heart for what comes next.
My encounter with a blind man and a boy with a broken body reminded me of those moments in time, the ‘time between time,’ that are often pregnant with meaning.
Leaders are always looking ahead for the next hill to climb. But sometimes, we must pause and make ourselves fully present in the moment so we don’t miss God’s subtle, but important lessons.
related post: The Guy on the Ventilator