Yesterday I sat down to make good on my desire to use my time wisely. The first order of business to write in my morning pages. After a couple minutes, I found my journal in the mess that fills my bag. You might consider my bag a form of Swiss Army knife. A backpack filled with books, journals, camera, laptop, power adapters, shirts, aprons, cough drops and, of course, the aforementioned journal. Well, one of the three identical Moleskines I use as a journal. Usually, my mess holds me in good stead and gives me the freedom to work anywhere. Usually it’s more navigable. Yesterday it sparked a growing frustration as I dug for another 10 minutes to find a pen, without success I might add. So, frustrated, I resigned myself to another delay and a trip to the store.
As I repacked my Swiss Army bag (no, it literally IS a Swiss Army bag), I found myself drawn into a conversation with one of our regulars at my store. I had no idea at the time that this was the beginning of a nearly two hour conversation. I won’t go into detail, but its beginnings were founded in bemoaning the present state of affairs in our city and our nation. Several times, most of them after I impulsively added to the conversation, I felt guilt. Guilt for wasting precious time, and knowing the conversation was continuing because I wanted it to. After all, we all love to express our passions and opinions, and someone had given me the platform to do just that. But even as I talked, listened and shared in a great conversation, I couldn’t escape this nagging sense that I should be doing something else. Now, before I go further, let me tell you this. That nagging sense, it was wrong.
Before long, our conversation had flowed beyond the exchange of opinions to something more personal, and, as we talked about solutions to the woes of the world, my plans for ministry in Whitehaven came up. As I shared those plans, I found a fount of information sitting across from me. By the time we were finished, I knew about several added expenses and fees I would have to pay. I knew the process and how long it would take. I also had the promise of prominent contacts who will, in all likelihood, make the process far easier than I anticipated.
What did I learn from all of this?
I learned once again that I’m not always right, and that there are pleasant surprises to be had in unexpected stops. I also learned that despite my best intentions, my plans may not be the best use of my time in the moment, despite their seeming wisdom. I may not have accomplished the writing I hoped for, but I still found myself further along the path I hope to follow. I have new friends who are interested in what I’m doing. I have valuable contacts that should make the next step to Whitehaven a little easier. And I have a more complete understanding of what I need to get there. Praise God for divine synchronicity that sneaks in the back door.
Have you experienced anything like this before? I’d love to hear about it.