Home Forums Noticings… 191030 – The Evening Commute

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    October 30, 2019

    I had a meeting in Cambridge yesterday and I thought if I could get away from it by 2pm that the drive across the top of Toronto wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, I didn’t get away until 3pm. The drive was awful – no, not awe-full, just awful. There were no accidents or problems – just so. many. vehicles. By the time I got home I was super grumpy, and I had a cramp in my leg. I was not a happy camper. Upon reflection, I could have arrived home in a better head and heart space if I would have practiced what I preach a bit better. Surely God was in that place (my car), and in that car next to me, and the next one, and yes even in that truck that just cut me off! Why didn’t I notice more?

    It’s not like I didn’t try. Honest! I distinctly remember times of looking around at the nearby drivers and praying shalom on them. It’s a practice I try to follow on the highway. I’d like to be able to tell you that such prayerful reflecting on God’s Presence transported me into a state of joyful bliss as I sputtered along the road at a breakneck speed of 8kph. But the truth is it tended to only last a few minutes at a time until the next frustration crowded it out. Wouldn’t it be great if we could transform the way we commute! – If we could transform the way we look at one another and see those people around us not as enemies standing between me and a timely supper, but as fellow journeyers.

    I’ve been using the pair of words “attention and intention” more lately. I’m finding them really helpful. My heart and mind and spirit all know that surely God is in the place I am and every other place, in me and everyone I meet. I know that deeply. That doesn’t mean I always practice it. Life gets in the way. It’s noisy, and meddlesome, and persistent. So remembering to notice requires significant attention and intention. Practicing such attention and intention on the evening commute is graduate level noticing!

    The word commute comes from Latin roots that mean ‘to mutually change.’ All those people in all those vehicles were mutually changing from one location (work, most likely) to another location (probably home). But think about that. We were commuting. We were mutually changing. That’s transformation language. That’s full of potential, and promise, and hope. If only we could bring our attention and intention to bear on that!

    I don’t know whether having everyone in every one of those vehicles understand that we are mutually in the midst of a hopeful transformation together would make the traffic move any faster. Attention and intention can’t defeat volume and capacity. But a change of heart and mind (the theological word is repentance!) might transform the way we undertake our ‘commuting.’

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