Friday, June 22, 2018

Nurse the Hate: God's Plan

The man seated across from me had an unusual serenity to him.  It was unusual not that in it was unsettling in some way, but rather so rare.  I felt oddly relaxed and comfortable speaking to this man.  There was a weight lifted off me.  It reminded me of that moment on a vacation when it suddenly occurs to you something is different, and that difference is that you have imperceptibly slipped back into your natural state of being.  He had such a sense of calm that it enveloped the sphere around him.  He was somehow able to control the pace of things around him.

I can’t recall ever meeting someone with such spirituality.  I consciously avoid using the word “religious” as even though he mentioned how active he was in his church, he wasn’t trying to sell anything.  When I hear the word “religious”, it immediately puts me on edge thinking of the words I associate with it like “intolerance” and “judgemental”. There was something about him that made you feel that you could tell him your greatest fear or shame, and it would be OK.  I asked him a deliberately open ended question.  Tell me your story.

The story was mundane.  His life was filled with small successes and minor challenges.  He recalled his life to that point with a quiet humility.  He came to a crossroad in his life where a major decision had to be made, probably the largest he had ever been faced.  It was then he said something interesting.  When I questioned him on why he had made the choice he had made, he replied almost with surprise.  “I am on God’s path.  I trusted in him.”  He then serenely smiled.

It was at this point that I wanted to stand up from the table and demand “What do you mean?  You are on God’s path?  Does that mean you didn’t decide anything?  Does that mean you just discarded reason and preference and hoped it would work out?  Or does that mean you made a decision and then convinced yourself an All Knowing Being approved it with a rubber stamp, because if you were in motion doing it, it must mean that He approved?  Wouldn’t it suggest that if you did anything at all that you were on God’s path?  If you have faith in that God has a game plan mapped out for you, all you need to do is look for the signs?  How do you know if you are interpreting the signs correctly?  What if you make the wrong decision because you have misread the clues?  Or are you saying that it is pointless to even worry about decisions at all as they have already been made in some sort of pre-destined order and you are like a train clicking down the tracks unable to turn?  Even if you change your direction midstream, can’t you just have revisionist history and say it was The Plan all along?”  

As these questions raced through my mind I noticed how absolutely calm and certain he lived.  Did this make him blissfully unaware or had he found some type of secret I would never know?  Or was being blissfully unaware the secret itself?  There was no debating that he had a quality of life that exceeded almost anyone I have ever met.  It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive in comparison to having that type of calm certainty in all your waking moments.  I would gladly drive a 1991 Buick Skylark if I could breeze through rooms with that Zen grooviness. 

We finished up our conversation and made plans to have a follow up meeting.  There was business to conduct and I would need to prepare a quote for him, an idea to which he eagerly agreed.  At the date of our next meeting I drove to meet him at his office.  Right before arriving he had one of his employees call to sheepishly cancel.  I then spent the next ten days trying unsuccessfully to reschedule.  It became obvious that he was not going to call me back. 

I couldn’t make sense of it as this evasive behavior did not match up at all to the enthusiasm of our first meeting, much less to the personal character I thought he had displayed.  I couldn’t figure it out.  What had changed?  The entire incident put me in a bit of a funk.  I was used to business rejection, but this felt different somehow.  Then I realized I shouldn’t take it personally.  I needed to stop expending so much energy trying to understand why business had taken such a radical 180 degree turn.  This had nothing to do with me.  It was clear.

It was God’s Plan.