I’ve been experimenting with "praying the hours", so to speak. I have a little book of Celtic prayers, meditations, and Scripture readings that I do morning, noon, and evening each day. I have been thinking about today’s midday meditation since I read it.
A pastor had two experiences of the same field of sheep, the story goes. The first time he came upon the field, he was riding his horse, and as he rode through the field, the sheep scattered. The second time he was quietly sitting and meditating. This time the sheep came to him. The quality of his presence determined whether the sheep were drawn to him or scattered when he was around. The pastor revolutionized the way he dealt with his "flock" from that point forward. Instead of talking and dealing with people in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the day, he decided to slow down and watch and listen more. He found people were drawn to him; they sought him out for counsel more often, opened themselves up to him in deeper ways.
It made me think about the quality of my presence: Do people run for cover when I come around, because I’m all "business" and busyness? Or do I create pockets of quiet and safety for others to open themselves up? Often we don’t realize the effect we have on others. But being someone to whom people feel drawn doesn’t mean we just sit around and sing happy songs all day. I think there is a way to be industrious and peaceful at the same time. Hard-working, but not stressed-out. Calm, but not lazy. Intentional, but not utilitarian.
The meditation ended with a wonderful prayer for the middle of a busy day:
in the midst of mockery and madness
you found peace to remain in your Father’s will.
In the midst of the fretful day
Give us peace to remain in our Father’s will.