Good Orderly Direction is a great acronym for G.O.D. If you have any misgivings about the word, simply replace the abbreviation in your mind for the following story. I would hate for you to miss the principle it demonstrates.
Daly, Amy’s 20 something dark-haired daughter, was feeling a bit lonely and asked God to take her out on a date. She went to the coffee shop, and while she was in line, she prayed again, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could pay for my coffee, like a human date?”
The lady in front of her orders, and as she is paying, she says, “I’d like to pay for the lady behind me as well.”
Daly was amazed and delighted that her God heard her and was paying for her coffee order!
Of course, she thanked the lady, then delightedly enjoyed her coffee.
Walking back to her car, she noticed a homeless man on the sidewalk. She asked if there was anything he wanted from the coffee shop. He gratefully asked for a coffee and a donut. Daly floats back into the coffee shop, ready to serve this man on the street, only to find out that the coffee shop sold out of donuts. Slightly deflated, she asked for a bagel instead. Paid and waited. The barista called her name, she picked up the order, and lo and behold! A donut in the bag.
When Amy told the story, the intimacy of the interaction moved me. Most of us believe that if there is a God that he certainly isn’t interested in taking millennials out for coffee. And sure as heck doesn’t care if the hobo has a donut over a bagel. Some of us would even argue that a donut has too much sugar in it In the first place.
As I have reflected on the story more, I realize that there is a principle at work here. God isn’t walking about here on this earth, swiping his card at the Starbucks. God needs people to do the swiping, the service.
Most adults don’t start down a spiritual path unless they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It isn’t until we reach the end of self that we begin to look for Something more substantial to bring purpose to this life. At the start, we are full of thoughts and feelings. Stories, like sledding paths on a hill, are deeply grooved into our minds. Scars and walled off sections fill out our hearts. Ego, operating in extremes of “I’m the worst” and, “I’m the best.” It’s nearly impossible to hear any Good Orderly Direction with all the walls and grooves.
The first step in the spiritual life is to create space in our hearts and minds. Create new stories, tear down the walls, and replace them with gates.
When our hearts and minds are open, we can hear what G.O.D. is telling us. Our intuition becomes a working part of our mind, and empathy moves to the forefront. We step into the river of life, as opposed to living in our self-constructed habitats by the shore.
To continue to grow along spiritual lines, we need to keep making space for that Good Orderly Direction, and then we need to act on it. “Faith without works is dead.” It is in that service that we experience the true nature of God.
First, Daly looked to God to help her. He did. Then she looked around to see who she could help. And she did.
She grew in her spiritual walk that day. She shared her experience with her mother, who shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. We share our experiences. We continue to make space and listen for ways to do God’s work. That is the spiritual path, that is the path that gives purpose and meaning to this life. Joy and happiness are side effects.
Just for today
I’m going to practice mindfulness. I’m going to pay attention to my thoughts, and when they turn mean or ugly, I’ll ask for Good Orderly Direction to turn them around. Then I’ll look for someone I can help.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.