It had been a cold winter’s day when I walked into the church that Sunday morning, wearing a long black coat that draped down to the top of my black boots, and probably wearing a little bit of an attitude too. I was hoping to go unnoticed as I walked into the back of the church, but even for a rather large church such as this, I saw the preacher pause from his sermon when I walked in, and he look over my way. Yeah, I’m a stranger here, I thought, and I eased my way into the back pew, all the while keeping my glance downward. It was not a condemning look from the preacher, but it was a pause… a thought of some kind. And the music that played was beautiful too. The young singer’s voice was mesmerizing, almost hypnotic.
Fast forward to today, and I find myself sneaking out of my company’s corporate meditation training class to go for a mid-day run. I already sit all day, I just can’t sit any longer, I tell myself. Running is my meditation and I’ll be a much better worker for it, I say convincingly as I lace up my running shoes. I pull out my mp3 player and instinctively select the song from that Sunday morning several years ago. It is Mindy Smith’s, “Come to Jesus” (2004). The Appalachian folk melody eases me into a comforting and reassuring calmness that I would not have found in my corporate meditation training class. I do not necessarily mind the concept of meditation. I like to think that each of us can find our own ways to meditate – I pray, run, play music; others may garden, fish or paint. All of these things can help you relax and clear your mind. But I have an issue with the “nothingness” part of the meditation. In the class, we were taught to clear our mind of all things and think of nothing. I cannot do that. God and Jesus have been my personal companions since I was very young. It is innate to me, native to my soul. I cannot separate from that, nor do I want to. I have come close at times, and it is not a good feeling to be void of everything – without hope and without light.
Even still, I am feeling slightly guilty for skipping the class today. After all, this training was modeled after Google’s corporate training. Yet, I know this is not the first time I have excused myself from the corporate training feel-good fad of the moment. In the mid-1990s, the next big thing was the corporate team-building exercises held in the mountains. We were supposed to do things like catch each other while falling backwards. Well, I did not sign up for one of the sessions being offered. I had a small baby at home and did not feel like spending 2-3 days stomping around in the woods, away from my family. One of my co-workers responded in disbelief when he found out, “You DIDN’T go?” Nope. “They WILL make you go when your manager finds out.” So my name was put on a list of people who still needed to attend. Fortunately for me, the fad died out before they got through the end of the list, and my secret rebellion was safe.
The training class this time was optional, but I still carry around a little bit of that attitude sometimes. And what about that black coat Sunday from all those years ago? I guess it was just the pause I needed at the time, to pause and rethink my life.
Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons,
Child, when life don’t seem worth livin’
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms.
Oh, my baby, when you’re prayin’
Leave your burden by my door
You have Jesus standing at your bedside
To keep you calm, keep you safe,
Away from harm.
~ Mindy Smith – Come to Jesus
(this is a great one to watch)