Twenty-minute miracle


I am needing something.

I sit in meditation and the need becomes so great that I want to jump up and run away from it. I want to fix it. I want to fix myself. I want to do something to make myself feel better. I want to fill up the great cave that opens in me.

With what. Self love? Food? Tea? A message from a friend? Plans for the day, the week, the next project? Clean laundry hanging on racks all over the house?

I let the need sit there, or rather, I make myself sit with the need. I have set my meditation timer for 20 minutes and, by God, I am going to sit it out.

By God, ten minutes in, the need identifies itself as the need of God. Big, real, impossible. The unfindable, undefinable, ineffable God. No less.

What can I do about that? Nothing. I can’t make God come to me. I can’t even make myself recognize that God is already there. I wait.

Seventeen minutes in, the phone rings. I jump up. Maybe God is calling.

It is Comcast Cable. I don’t answer.

I sit out the last three minutes. At the chime, twenty minutes elapsed, I jump up and check the dishwasher to see if the soap compartment has opened. It’s been acting up recently, and the thought was nagging me as the dishwasher swished background noise to my meditation.

The compartment is open. Things are working.

Somehow, I don’t know when, the need has shifted, dissolved. It no longer announces itself as impossibility, absolute aloneness. A great, neon “Vacancy” sign now flashes “No Vacancy.”

I make tea. I write. I email about my committee’s budget request for next year. The clothes washer sings its little song, announcing the end of the cycle. I hang up the laundry.

Angst and need are gone. Love has moved in.


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