One Perfect Day
Then there was that ‘One Perfect Day’ that seemed to rise out of the ashes of so many others; one where you can see God’s hand orchestrating it from start to finish. It was a couple weeks before Ash Wednesday 2006.
A chiropractor I was going to at the time used to say that much of my back pain was due to my dissatisfaction with my current job at the Post Office, and my desire to have more time to do my Art; as well as fulfill my dream of a log home in Montana. He suggested I go to see a friend of his, John, who was using a new type of therapy to solve many personal issues. He offered his first session free of charge so I’d have nothing to lose. So I scheduled an appointment for 4:30PM the next Saturday.
Saturday morning was bright and sunny, and I decided to go see Fr. Shent, my confessor and spiritual advisor, at a church in a neighboring town. As I entered the Parish Center there was a large poster on a card table that read: “‘HAPPENING’ happening here this weekend”. The Happening was a retreat for youth, and for many years I had worked on the team. I thought that after I saw Fr. Shent I’d go and see if I still knew any of the team. As it turned out there were many team members I still knew. One woman asked if I planned to play music for the Reconciliation Service that evening; something I loved to do and had done many times in the past. I told her about the appointment I had made for that afternoon. I didn’t know how long it would last so I said “no for now.”
John was using a new counseling method called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It was founded on the belief that many of our chronic problems were caused by something that happened in our past; possibly something that someone had said that we came to believe was true, and may not be.
“Your thoughts are like the seed in a bird feeder. You draw the kind of birds by the kind of seed you use. You don’t necessarily draw to yourself what you want, but rather what you believe you deserve.”
He asked me what my current belief was, and I said I was plagued with anxiety and was just trying to keep my sanity. I had been told in various prayer groups that any pain that I was experiencing could be offered up to help someone else, somewhere. John suggested that I take this belief and envision myself standing in front of a High School Graduation Class. He then asked me to share these thoughts to give the students encouragement and a hope for their future. He needn’t say anymore. I would never want to share with anyone, especially a young person, such a bleak vision for their future.
John was compassionate and listened attentively to everything I said. He shared various techniques of taping over long held negative beliefs. He placed words on the floor and asked me to move up and stand on each one explaining their meaning. He asked me to imagine asking those that I considered my heroes for advice. Finally he asked me to look up at the blank wall before me and paint a picture of my perfect future.
I painted a picture of a large log home in Montana; one with extra rooms where friends could come and stay. I painted a large Great Room with lots of windows, and a loft with sky lights; a place where I could have Art classes for children, or prayer groups where we could share experiences of God in our lives. I painted a place in the country with land; a place where I could host retreats.
John’s sessions normally lasted 45mins. to 1hr. We talked nearly 2hrs. When I left I felt a peace, and an excitement for life, that I hadn’t felt in years; maybe ever.
When I arrived home it was around 7Pm and I planned an evening of relishing this newfound peace, when I heard that inner voice that I hadn’t heard in years. It sounded like the voice that had guided me thru so many of those experiences on the road.
It said, “Why don’t you go play for Reconciliation.”
“Oh no”, I thought, “not now, I don’t want anything to disturb this peace I’m feeling. It’s been too long in coming. Besides it’s 7:00PM and they’re probably finishing dinner and starting reconciliation now; and besides, I’m hungry.”
So I cooked dinner and ate. As I was washing the dishes I heard the voice again: “Why don’t you go and play for Reconciliation.”
It was even later now. So I decided to call my friend Brendan who had mentioned that he planed to help out on Team for the weekend.
“Brendan, have they done Reconciliation yet?”
“No, but they will be soon .”
“Because I was thinking about coming and playing music for the Service, but I’d have to get music together, and it would take me near a half hour to get there; and it would probably be too late by then.”
I paused waiting for Brendan’s confirmation of this line of reasoning; but he said nothing. So we said our goodbyes and got off the phone. As I hung up the phone I heard: “Why don’t you go and play for Reconciliation.”
“But it’s too late,” I said out loud. “It will take too long to get ready, and they’ll be starting the Service by now.” To which I heard:
“I’ll wait for you.”
So now, I had to go. I had to play out my response just to see if it really was God speaking to me. I called Brendan back to let him know my change in plans but just got his voicemail.
“ Brendan, if you get this message, tell Becky (who was the Director for the Weekend) that if she wants me to play music for Reconciliation, to stall, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I managed to get my music and my guitar together and was down to my car in 5 mins. The town was a good distance away and would take some time to get there. There were at least a dozen traffic lights I’d have to get through on my way to the church.
As I drove the traffic was all but nonexistent, and every, and I mean every, light turned green as I approached. It reminded me of another time when God wanted to let me know his nearness in the moment; where every intersection opened up like the parting of the Red Sea.
I arrived at the Parish Center in less than 15 mins. As I unloaded my guitar and music and started to walk toward the entrance, Brendan was walking out, with his telephone up to his ear.
“I’m just listening to your message now. Everyone is right above the entrance on the 2nd floor. Fr. Jim is giving his pre-reconciliation talk right now. Come on, I’ll help you get set up.”
So we pulled out a couple of folding chairs, using one as a makeshift music stand and another to sit on. I organized my music around me and took my guitar out of the case....
... and at the very moment I looked up, Fr. Jim turned around and gave me the nod to start playing the music.
I had read in the Bible at different times where the reader was admonished to ‘Wait on the Lord’. This time was different. I knew in my heart that it was indeed the voice of the Lord that I heard, but this time He was saying to me:
“I’ll wait for You”