I flew down the steps, spun round the corner just as I heard the beeps, watched the lady in front of me squeeze through the closing doors and I had missed the tube. My frustration only slightly abated by the orange digits telling me the next was in one minute.
I was in a rush to keep to a time-scale of my own design and implementation. I wanted to write this article before getting to the cinema to watch James Bond’s latest adventure. There was no pressure other than my own; the only thing sacrificed to make this mad dash was the possibility of hammering out another thousand words of a novel, which I am mostly writing to prove I can achieve it in a single month. Having already achieved it last year.
And yet just two days earlier I was in remote Scotland, ostracised from civilisation with just a few friends and the local deer population for company. It took over half an hour to reach the end of our drive; we were on an estate the size of Greater Manchester nestled between a couple of lochs just south of the Cairngorms.
Time takes you by surprise, when you want it to stay it flees with indecent haste. And when we long for it to pass, it haunts as though it will never leave. I want to get to the next thing, whatever that thing might be. Even in the tranquillity of our Scottish escape, I was still preoccupied with what was coming up. I had to get to bed to get up early, leave the castle to get to the distillery, leave there for the shops, and then again to get home for dinner. A train of dependent actions laid out in techni-colour all for the purpose of getting to the end.
I would get frustrated when people didn’t see the consequences of their actions to the intricate finesse of my scheduling. The achievement of peace and rest seemed to require an undue amount of stress. Don Miller wrote recently about having a no-drama policy, greeting whatever hassle or diversion or obstacle might come your way with a realisation that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.
I like to think that I’m a no-drama type of person. But that is exactly what I am. By wanting everything sorted the way that I want it to be, I create conflict and drama when none is needed.
I could tell myself that I just adapt to situations as they arise and have the foresight to have considered the infinitesimal possibilities before they occur. That by preparing, I avoid drama; when I know what is going on I am happy.
Or to put it another way; when things go the way I plan, I am happy.
It is why I plan my minutes for no good reason, why I am hurrying to finish this, so I can get the train to the cinema. Why I want everyone else to conform to my plans. Why I like my independence. Why I like my relationships with others on my terms. Why I try to put my relationship with God on my terms and not his.
I make myself busy in order to find rest, stressed to find peace, alone to crave company. I pull away from God, so that I might want him near. I call argument the reality of unity. I see messiness as the basis of harmony. I want order before I embrace chaos. I want things my way.
And God says be still.
Be still and know that I am God.