Last week, I dropped our son, Charlie, at his driver’s ed course and was heading to my doctor’s appointment when I realized I had about an hour to kill. The down time threw me for a loop, living in the fast-paced world of a big family and lots-to- do. I found myself almost pan- icked at the thought of an hour — a whole hour! — before my next place to be.
I saw a Waffle House and pulled in. I decided to slow down and enjoy some grits and tea. I took a deep breath and savored the slowness and then looked down at my watch. I had made numerous to do lists and texted and emailed countless important messages and had used up exactly... 23 minutes. What now?
I climbed back in my van and started heading over towards the doctor’s office, still not sure how to use the time I had left. Drive around? Pop in to a store? Arrive early to the appointment and stare off into the distance?
It was then, as I continued head- ing to the office, that the idea appeared: adoration. Why yes! Adoration. How could I forget?
Easily! Adoration, along with all excellent habits, can be so easy to forget. It was divine inspi- ration that it came back onto my radar. I decided to swing by the Adoration Chapel, which was exactly between where I was and where I needed to go.
I got to the chapel with about 20 minutes to spend. I got out of my van and headed toward the chapel when a woman approached me. With concern, she explained that the person who normally follows her for perpetual adoration had not shown up, and she and her husband had stayed an extra 40 minutes. They needed to leave, how long was I going to stay.
The time I was able to stay for adoration was the exact amount of time I was needed — about 20 minutes before the next person arrived. I was able to commit to the time and be in the chapel with Jesus so the sweet couple could go on to their next part of the day.
I sat in the chapel, just Jesus and me, and marveled at how God had allowed me to be used. The idea of adoration was not mine, but listening to the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit put me exactly where I needed to be. I really was needed here, and by being in tune with that idea, I filled this need.
I’m starting to see the wis- dom in letting God guide my day. Of course most of my chunks of time are total- ly accounted for: up in the morning out the door to teach, afternoon and evening caring for my husband and children. But here and there I will notice free time that I sense I should keep open. I need to be sure not to over-schedule myself or cling so tightly to my own plans and ideas that I miss out on what God has planned for me. God can certainly use me no matter what, but when I’m able to keep an ear open to something bigger than my own agenda, God can send me where he wills.
“To be a saint,” writes Bishop Robert Barron, “is to be holy, and to be holy is to follow God’s will, and God’s will is always a will to love and love is willing the good of the other...so to be a saint is to will the good of others.”
Following God’s will takes a willingness to listen — we can’t know the will of God unless we quiet the self within and listen to what God would have us do. Sometimes that comes in a clear understanding, sometimes a gentle nudge. But no matter what way God gets our attention, we must first be willing to try and listen.
A moment of grace is what changed the course for me that day, a simple openness to a sim- ple idea. May we go throughout our days open to hearing God’s gentle voice so he can use us as he will.
Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity, Augusta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.