When my six children were all living at home, I used to wish someone would send me to my room. As a parent I would send my children to their room if I wanted them to reconsider their behaviors and/or their attitudes. It also kept me from doing or saying something I would regret later. (Quite frankly I do not think an orange jumpsuit would be flattering on me). So, what do I mean when I say “I need to go to my room now”? What room am I talking about?
My room is a secret place. Sometimes I stockpile a lot of extra stuff in there. I can cram it so full there is no room for anything else. I fill it by making lists of things to do, I replay conversations I have had, and I sometimes just go there and sit; too tired to do anything at all.
Author Terry Hersey tells the story of an important, hurried and stressed businessman who visits a Zen master, seeking guidance and inner peace.
The Zen master sits down, invites the businessman to sit for tea. “I’m not here for tea, I only want inner peace,” the businessman blusters.
Still, the master pours the visitor a cup of tea. But even after the tea fills the cup, the Zen master continues to pour, allowing the tea to spill, now running over the entire table.
The businessman is taken aback, “Hey! Stop! Please stop pouring the tea! Can’t you see the cup is full and obviously can’t hold any more.”
The Zen master replies simply, “Yes. So it is with you. And you will not be able to receive any guidance, or peace, unless you make some empty space first.”
When there is no empty space, we pay the price. When our senses are numbed by noise and overload and worry, we become spiritually impoverished. Our spirit is like the teacup. Overflowing. And all we wanted was guidance. We just didn’t expect that it would involve making space.
Why am I sensing a call from the Spirit to return to my room now? Perhaps the Spirit is inviting me to sit quietly in there because my attitude and behaviors need adjustment. I hear His invitation. Will I stomp up the stairs on my way there or will I approach this room with a holy awe?
How about you? Might the Spirit be telling you to go to your room for a cup of tea as well?
“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”Matthew 6:6