Yesterday, I served as substitute organist for an Episcopal church service, a beautiful service with wonderful use of the English language, many well-written hymns, as well as a great deal of sung liturgy (Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, Lord's Prayer, Agnus Dei). For me, there was a LOT of music to be played, and ordinarily it would have been a very stressful service to play. Surprisingly, that was not the case. I had prayed several times that I would have the right intention in playing the service, that I would be able to offer my playing as a joyful offering to God, and that others would sense my intention as they participated in the service. I found all of these things to be the case, and when the service was over, though I was exhausted, I felt joy in having opened my heart to the presence of God as I played the service.
As I have begun to try and listen for God speaking in my heart and mind and have begun the practice of daily meditation, I have noticed a great reduction in my stress level. I feel a sense of peace and calm that is new to me. I have never been a worrier; I have always believed that God was taking care of me and that "all things work together for good to those who love God." Yet, lately, I don't sense as much anxiety in my mind and body when I'm in a stressful situation.
This week, I'm working on being more fully present for those I'm with, especially my family. I hope to let God work in me to help me truly hear what they are saying, to be sensitive to their needs and emotions, and to practice compassion for them more fully than I have in the past. I am praying each day that I will be open to God as God transforms me into a more caring, engaged follower of Jesus.