I was almost at the bottom of the psychiatric hospital hierarchy in 1994. I didn’t mind, but I was confused how a spiritual truth like “God is the only power ” had any reality in my every day life. Eventually it bothered me enough to make a demand on God. “If You really are the only power, show me what this means at the hospital.”
I remember vividly walking into the hospital that day, “Okay God, I’m ready.”
In a tiny closet/staff space, I finished my meditation during a break. One of my co-workers came in and was immediately curious about what I had been doing. I generally kept my spiritual practices to myself, but as she was suddenly asking me lots of questions, I shared more than usual. “I think it’s cool that you meditate. I’d like to do more of that myself but can never find the time.” I shared with her my practice of God first, no matter what, every day as much as I possibly could. It was fun to be talking with someone at work about my spiritual life.
Later in the shift, the charge nurse sitting with other nursing staff, made an unexpected comment to me. “I notice, Harriet, whenever we have to respond to a code to contain aggressive behavior, you remain so calm through the whole thing. It’s so tense and emotional, why doesn’t it seem to faze you?”
I was surprised by her comment and question as I hadn’t realized anyone was aware of my small part in these often volatile moments. My focus during codes was to take the action I needed to, while keeping my attention as much as I could, on the wholeness of God as the person who was in trouble. That focus kept me from getting distracted by judgments or fears. As I answered the nurse, I was aware of how intently she was listening. I felt seen and respected.
Then lastly, during this same shift, out of the blue one of the doctors who I didn’t know very well, began peppering me with questions in the hallway. “You’re so different than other people, I can’t figure you out.” He wanted to know what motivated me, why I talked about the things I did (I remember wondering how he knew what I talked about,) and why I didn’t seem as effected by our environment as others. I gave him a vague answer as I was clear he was using a battery of questions as an expression of his discomfort at my lack of comformity and not out of genuine interest in the answers. He wanted to let me know he felt my difference and he wasn’t sure if he liked it.
This is how God answered my question of what God’s power looked like in my every day life.
God doesn’t demand, dominate, manipulate, control or show-off, but She is making a difference all the time whether we are aware of it or not.
To God be the glory.