This past weekend I was tested in my ability to live from the quiet center. The quiet center for me as a Christ centered Friend is living out the peace that flows from living in the presence of the Prince of Peace. On Friday my daughter went into the ER with a high fever, and when we got there her pulse was over 250. That is two hundred and fifty plus beats per minute that the triage nurse said was too fast for them to count on their stethoscope. Welcome to parental crisis. I immediately sent a note out on facebook asking for prayer and focused my whole self on being present to my daughter. The doctors kept praising me on how calm I was.
For the record, while I was outwardly calm I was in no way calm in my mind. It was all I could do to hold my stuff together so my daughter wouldn’t have the additionally frightening thing of having her daddy freaking out. I began closing myself off to everything but the moment and went to the center, handed Jesus everything and said I need you to hold this for me while I deal with all this. At that point I felt something holding me in the center. That something was not of me, since I was melting down inside. The external was focused on my daughter and being a comfort to her and in a real way I deferred everything until the crisis was weathered, locking the emotional storm away until later. No, I have to say that at that point I felt what it is like to be held in the light by others.
This is something that we Friends need to remember in our individualized faith culture: Sometimes we cannot live from the center and need others to carry us there. We need other Friends to carry us into the center because we are an emotional puddle on the floor in a dark corner. This truth is why we need to come together in our meetings for worship, to remind us that we are not on this journey alone, that we are not meant to “make it on our own”. We are absolutely unable to maintain the center without the prayers of others, without the support of others, and without a recognition of our need for others to journey with us. Because of others prayers and love I was able to be present in a calm non-anxious way, and the doctors told me how much of a difference that made for my daughter, and I had to say that as a Friends pastor it was only because others were holding me in the light.
I end this with two queries that I think it is vitally important for each of us to answer:
Who do I ask to hold me in the quiet center when I can’t find it for myself?
Who can I hold in the quiet center now that may not be able to find it by themselves?