At the Advisory Board Company, we teach a course called “Leading Amidst Uncertainty.”
In one of my favorite moments we suggest to leaders, as they must respond personally to the anxiety arising from uncertainty, that they regularly pause to breathe.
This timeless wisdom is not copyrighted, and it’s free for anyone at any time.
We go on to suggest making time for reflection in whatever way may work best — go outside for a walk or exercise to clear your head, schedule five minutes of nothing on your calendar to regroup, or eat lunch away from your desk to find clarity.
My teaching brought me to Kalamazoo, Michigan this week, so I took advantage of being just 30 minutes away to stop in for a visit this afternoon at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers.
St. Gregory’s is a Benedictine Abbey in the Episcopal Church. I have been a confrater, or associate, of the abbey for at least 20 years but have rarely visited. It must be 10 years since my last visit.
Before vespers I had some time to sit quietly in the sun, to pet one of the Abbey cats, and to have tea with the monks and with another guest, the Rt. Rev. Ed Little, Bishop of Northern Indiana.
The Abbey Church is one of the loveliest I know, and vespers in that quiet place redolent of incense is truly peaceful.
The chapter appointed for this evening (a short Scripture passage) is also a personal favorite of mine:
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is (1 John 3:1-2).
I am grateful for a couple of hours today in “the place of God’s dwelling” — or at least one particular place — and for the pause to breathe.