By David Ramos
As professionals we have been asked to do more with less, to do it faster and better, at ever increasing rates of efficiency. As executives we must deal with simultaneous processes, people, programs and politics. Like the chef of a fine, bustling restaurant, we must cater to intricate taste buds in creative ways, offer unique value points while making our consumers always want to come back for more. Sometimes the result of a harried executive life is one where we are always “on,” where we, even on our spare time, are addicted to getting things accomplished, incessantly exploring and attempting to conquer new worlds.
My weekends seem to have become a blur where I attempt, often in a futile manner, to do as much as possible with a little bit of time. Life sometimes feels as if I’m cramming for some exam. Recently I had an epiphany while I was driving (like in the shower, God seems to talk to me while I drive, perhaps because my long drives provide me some relaxation where my multitasking options are limited).
It was a Saturday afternoon that was slipping into evening. I was on my way to visit my wife’s family, and like some pilot I had calculated an equation in my head:
Travel to event + initial salutation and small talk x more chitchat minus overtures to leave x last minute stories divided by 5 people + travel back from event minus accelerated departure = one blown evening.
I started feeling angry and resentful that I was “losing time.” This was followed by feelings of guilt that I would be so selfish with “my time” that I was resenting some extended “family time.” It was when I settled my spirit, acknowledged that I was being selfish and decided that I was going to just enjoy the moment when it suddenly happened. I was taking a turn off the highway when I was enveloped by sheer beauty. As I turned my car a marvelous flood of intense sunlight engulfed me! The sun was setting low on the horizon, I had to squint my eyes because the glow of the proud sun boldly declared its strength even while departing; the heat immediately warmed my face, my arms, my body. Instinctively, I drew my foot off the accelerator as I coasted my car through this long winding turn. Everything seemed to go in slow motion as the wind danced upon my face. Majestic, tall pine trees that lined either side of the road seem to smile and gently wave as I drove by. I felt a sense of deep inner peace, as the sunlight not only warmed my body but my soul. It was a perfect moment! The turn only lasted seconds but felt eternal. I had tasted and savored every millisecond of that turn as a cinematographer captures life frame by frame.
God showed me on that day that he could fill our fleeting moments with life, beauty and meaning. That my human understanding and experience of time, as juxtaposed by the otherness of God’s qualitatively different ontological and transcendent time, were two different things, that he could “redeem time” and grant me in a moment what all my frenzied efforts couldn’t grant me in a lifetime. I had taken that turn so many times before and never saw what I saw on that day—perhaps I never will again.
I almost missed that moment in my anger; I almost missed the sunlight. I wonder how many times, in my frantic, desperate tempo, buried in my executive responsibilities, and seduced by the deceiving notions of what I think is important, have I missed the sunlight God was granting me.