Gabriel’s Towing Service

I was rescued by an angel named Gabriel. It was the last day of our retreat and our leader offered some suggestions. She said it was best to not rush off from the retreat to try to catch up on all the things we didn’t get done. She encouraged us to take our time, drive slowly and rest as we eased back into our busy work schedule. Of course, I felt that somehow I was exempt from her instructions.

The minute the retreat was over and we said our goodbyes, I hopped into my car, threw my bags in the backseat and tried to get out of the parking lot before it got jammed up. Not more than 40 seconds later I found my car bucking, jerking, revving, and on the verge of stalling at the next traffic light. I was horrified and immediately filled with dread. I had no time to deal with a problem car.

Lucky for me I made it to the next large building, a spa. I found it interesting to have just left a retreat center and to barely have made it to the parking lot of a spa. I parked the car, gave it a grimacing look, and went to the spa to call Triple A. I growled at myself for not having listened to our retreat leader and wondered if I was being punished for not following the directions.

Practicing Contemplation on the Road

Today’s post is by Leah Rampy

My hands are locked on the steering wheel as I sit in the mass of vehicles inching down I-395 during morning rush hour. I look straight ahead, my eyes locked on the truck just ahead of me. I carefully avoid eye contact with the driver of the car to my right. I pretend not to see her blinker, not even to be aware that she’s there trying to move her car in front of mine. Drat! My peripheral vision is too good; I can see her now beside me, just as I saw her pull out a dozen cars back into the diminishing right hand lane, moving up to the front of the line, trying to bypass all the rest of us who are waiting “patiently” to make our way to work. I am indignant that she does not follow the rules.

There’s something about righteous indignation that feels so good, so superior— at least for a minute. And then it all comes crashing down. What am I doing?!? I started with a spacious morning, I set my intention to bless those along the way, I really want to be gracious to others I meet, and I’m on my way to Shalem for heaven’s sake! Yet here I am again, hijacked by my amygdala, under the control of my ego, or maybe just caught up in an old habit. How distressing!

I suppose in some ways it’s a blip on the radar. And yet I feel sad. Why is it so difficult for me to live consistently from the spiritual heart? In this moment, I feel that others have figured out the key. They pray enough; they hold silence longer, they don’t fail so often in their intent.