Shades of Gray

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my exploration of our temporal relationship is that being on time is a relative thing. When we allow our lives to be dictated by hours, we automatically engage in clock combat. We establish, in a way, rigid, mechanistic thinking. Our world becomes black and white. We are either on time or we are not. And in a black and white world, there is no room for shades of gray.

My dear friend Arielle Ford taught me a new concept of time: that of divine timing. As we drove a book project to completion, deadlines and timelines somehow became my lifeline. I breathlessly engaged in clock combat to ensure I stayed on track. That is, until she uttered the simple phrase: “It will come in divine time.” She never once pushed the creative process, but instead allowed herself to be enveloped in it. It was one of the most beautiful times of my professional life to be enshrouded with such love, trust and courage.

I am reminded of that trust as I think about how much we worry about being on time in our Western culture. Punctuality is a revered trait in Germany in particular. And I agree that it shows respect to be on time for events, appointments, etc. But some things cannot be pushed into a timeline. Nor can they be foreseen. Some experiences simply happen, such as a crazy GPS that leads you astray until you realize it might just have been your angels that averted disaster for you on the road.

Going slowly and absorbing the meaning behind the experience allow you to savor the beauty and flavor of life.

In April I had meticulously planned a conference trip to Berlin that included an early morning flight from Munich. Thinking that no one else would be up that early, I took the latest bus possible from remote parking to the airport itself. When I saw the long line at security, I could feel myself putting on my combat boots against time. In a very uncharacteristic move (those of you who know me – stop laughing!), I excused myself throughout the entire line to the front, explaining my gate was about to close. By some miracle, the security turned a blind eye to my four bags of liquid products and let me through. As I rushed to the gate, which had changed last-minute, I saw that my flight had been delayed by 45 minutes. I slipped off my invisible boots and apologized to time for my lack of trust. In the end, I made it to the conference, despite an hour’s ride through Berlin, just in time.

When we trust in divine timing, life works smoothly. Even when we think we are going down the wrong road, we are always exactly where we need to be. When you tune into that inner knowing, that inner GPS, the mystery that is your life reveals itself. Are you listening?

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