100 Everyday Cathedrals – Day 69
Don’t you just love going to the DMV? Waiting in long lines even after you’ve made an appointment. Sitting in crowded waiting areas, getting sneezed on and coughed on. As terrible as those things are, I don’t think those are the reasons we hate going to the DMV. After all, we wait in long lines and get coughed on when we go to Disneyland or shopping on Black Friday.
I think the real reason we hate going to the DMV is because we have to go through such an arduous and painful process that it cuts into all the other things we would rather be doing. It’s not just the DMV but everything we have to do that we’d rather not do.
When I was in school I remember sitting in class watching the minutes slowly tick away. The last 10 minutes always felt like an eternity. Instead of using that time to get ahead on homework I erroneously gave all my attention to the wrong thing, hoping time would pass faster.
Rushing Through Life
I realized I’ve done this with other things in my life. When I was in high school I longed for the freedom that came with going to college. Then in college I couldn’t wait until I went to graduate school. And you guessed it, when I was in graduate school I couldn’t wait to start working because then I could make a real difference.
The problem in waiting for the next ‘thing’ or ‘stage’ in our lives, is that we have a tendency to go on auto pilot and in doing so miss out on being present.
Our challenge is to resist living passively and be intentional about being present in every stage of our life. Failing to do so will lead us to miss out on the one life we are given.
Change Your Perception, Change Your Life
Which brings us back to the DMV. We try to rush through the time there so that we can get back to our “real life”. However, in doing so it only elevates our level of frustration because as we all know, time stands still there. Which actually is a gift, since time is so fleeting. So this time I decided to change my perception. Instead of giving my attention to how much I wanted to be somewhere else, I decided to use the time to read a book that a friend of mine is writing. I was almost able to read the whole thing. And it was entertaining, and sad, and happy and hopeful.
For the first time I was thankful to be at the DMV where all I had to do was wait because it gave me the opportunity to present to my friends story. All it took was a change of perception. Changing your perceptions works in every area of your life.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6v34, NRSV).