Monday morning, I was preparing to pray, when the phone rang. I took a second wondering if I should answer, but I did. The caller was a pastor's spouse whom I have mentored over the past three years during a very difficult appointment. She was overjoyed to tell me that her husband was moving in June to a new church. I was thrilled and excited.
I listened as she described the parsonage and all of the many benefits that this new appointment would allow personally and professionally. However, I must say, that occasionally I kept thinking that I wasn't going to have time to complete my morning prayer time if I kept talking to her, because I had to leave my home by a certain time. I chastised myself for not being completely present to her. I also began to get restless, which is what I do when I am pressed for time. Thankfully, God took over and allowed me to give up my own agenda to offer myself completely to my friend. Of course, by the time we finished talking, I needed to leave. I missed my prayer time; but as I reflected later in the day, I would not have missed the opportunity to celebrate with my friend, to hear her answered prayer, and to rejoice with the potential for spiritual growth that the move will present.
Monday also reminded me of a day last summer when I was preparing to attend a weekly ecumenical Bible study at the YMCA, when the phone rang. Once again, I knew that if I answered, I would be late. Thankfully, I did answer, to find a friend of mine crying at the other end. She and I talked for as long as she needed, but just like last Monday, I kept thinking I really need to get to Bible study. Thankfully, God intervened and I continued listening. I took off for the Y when she finished. I missed most of the class, but I was glad to listen.
I later shared with the group about my experience saying, "I thought about telling my friend I couldn't talk to her because I had to get to Bible study so I could learn how to show God's love to all people in any circumstance." They appreciated the humor and reality of the situation.
My prayer today is "God, I want to be present to you. I want to be present to those with whom I call friend. "My prayer time" is as much sitting at a table, reading your word as being with those who are crying or celebrating. Amen.