Startled, to say the least, was what I felt when one of my spiritual mentors said to me rather matter-of-factly, "I think God asks us to do only one thing at a time."
My ears were pricked because I was probably watching the clock in order to pick up my son at school after returning a client's phone call and making sure that dinner would be on the table when I got back from doing the church project that was spread all over the dining-room table. Do one thing at a time? HA! I prided myself on having many balls in the air at the same time.
And this was before cellphones.
Since those days, I've made what I've considered important phone calls while driving (with a speaker phone), but increasingly I've been questioning the necessity to do so. What if it could be the exception rather than the rule? Because the intensity that's cultivated through doing many things at the same time makes life a three-ring circus instead of a settled experience with God.
Christian Science explains that God is the great divine Principle of life, which not only creates life, but secures it. God didn't create this magnificent universe of ideas and then let it devolve into a frenzy of too much to do with too little time to do it. God's creation is as rhythmic as a sunrise, as irresistibly progressive as autumn, as perfectly ordered as seeds of a watermelon. This is a promise that men, women, and children can live embraced in the same divine harmony.
The founder of this newspaper, a woman of many accomplishments and a settled sense of God, wrote, "All nature teaches God's love to man, but man cannot love God supremely and set his whole affections on spiritual things, while loving the material or trusting in it more than in the spiritual" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 326). Mary Baker Eddy's writings insist that as the children of God, we naturally love the inner things of the Spirit more than the materialism that screams at every turn.
Is it really more important to make that extra phone call while driving than to honor the harmony of the cars moving on the road? Could it be that in cherishing those moments of quiet in the car we would arrive at our destination more refreshed, more ready to engage with the business at hand or the family gathered? More joyful because we notice the beauty of creation around us and honor its source?
In one of her books, Mrs. Eddy mentioned the disastrous effects of interfering with God's regulation of life. Then she spoke of the antidote: "A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896," p. 354).
As lawmakers are considering banning the use of cellphones while driving, could we accept the challenge to loosen the intensity, to be less impressed with self-doing, and to be more reverent – more aware of how the Creator of the universe regulates everything with grace, in a way that softens our hearts and our days?