Mention the Department of Motor Vehicles in my home state, and most people groan. Renewing your driver's license or registering your car can take hours of waiting in lines. While my recent trip to the DMV was no exception, I discovered something even more satisfying than getting through the line.
When I arrived, I saw dutiful citizens sitting in cold, hard chairs waiting for their numbers to be called. Judging from the automated voice announcing the number being served, at least 15 people were ahead of me.
When my number finally came up, the woman behind the counter greeted me with a look of boredom and promptly excused herself to make a phone call. She reached for her cellphone and moved into another work station across the office.
Is she talking with a friend, I wondered. Does she have a kid in trouble, a sick parent? As moments turned into minutes and she didn't return, my perplexity (why did she need to make a phone call right now?) turned into impatience (how unprofessional – I could teach the DMV a thing or two about customer service).
Then, while leaning on the counter in that sterile room, hearing the drone of numbers mechanically announced overhead, I felt an inner nudge.
That morning before heading for the DMV, I'd read sacred writings and meditated on God's love, a habit I'm cultivating. Two of my favorite books -- the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" – help me to see God as loving intelligence and how to be in tune with divine caring guidance.
"Science and Health" states: "All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal. The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth" (p. 151).
Standing at the DMV counter, I realized that I had a choice. I could focus on the apparent lack of service – and become more frustrated – or I could yield to inspiration and let that guide my response.
I decided to take advantage of the waiting time to let my heart fill with gratitude for God and appreciation for everyone in the office. I noticed the helpfulness of workers at the information desk, the good humor of some customers waiting in line. I felt an upswelling of caring – more for the needs of my DMV worker and everyone around me than for my own needs. With that, I relaxed. Time seemed to stand still.
After about 20 minutes, the attendant returned. When she found me calmly waiting at her station, a smile broke across her face. "Thank you for your patience!" she exclaimed. Although she never told me why she had left to make a phone call, we chatted and laughed as we proceeded to work through the first phase of my application for a driver's license.
Over the course of the next hour, I passed through several other lines, filling out forms, completing a traffic code examination, and having my picture taken. As I wrapped up the last detail, another worker whom I'd noticed earlier smiled and also thanked me for my patience. I sensed the divine presence had given us all a gift of mutual understanding and breathing room to help meet the demands of the day.
As I walked out of the DMV that afternoon, my step was lighter. I'd felt the graceful healing touch of inspiration right in the humdrum of daily living, and perhaps I'd helped a spiritual "sister" or two. Waiting in line became waiting on God that day, a reminder that we can feel spiritually uplifted anywhere – even at the DMV.
Be kindly affectioned
one to another
with brotherly love.