Craving peace

Something interesting happened last night.

I was on my way home from work, and I was thinking about this colossal list of stuff I needed to get done. One of the items on the list was, “Read old Sentinels and Journals.”

I had about a six-month backlog of issues I hadn’t finished reading. And in most cases, by “hadn’t finished,” I mean, “tossed them on the floor next to the bed and forgot about them for weeks.” So there were probably 25 magazines piled up next to my bed.

Since sitting around reading magazines feels more like relaxation than work, I put that near the bottom of my to-do list.

As I thought about all the other stuff on the list, I started to feel so overwhelmed that I decided maybe I’d just take myself out to dinner at my favorite restaurant — which is all the way over in Stroud, a good 40 miles away — and unwind before I tried to tackle all those projects. I do that a lot when I’m procrastinating. Being gone all evening is a great excuse to blow off housework.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I started to crave a particular food that is not available at my favorite restaurant — but is served at a fast-food place on the way home from work.

This was not a minor craving. This was a craving of epic proportions — one of those Must-Have-This-Now, Can’t-Think-About-Anything-Else-Until-I-Get-It sort of cravings. So I skipped the road trip to Stroud and hit a drive-through instead.

As I was pulling into the driveway and collecting my empty wrappers from the passenger’s seat, a thought came to me: Skip the rest of the to-do list and start with the magazines.

Last night was election night. Under normal circumstances, I’d have been doing housework with one eye on the television, worrying over the election returns as they came in.

But I didn’t do that last night. Instead, I listened to my instincts for once, set aside all those other projects, curled up on my papasan chair, and read five Sentinels cover-to-cover … and wouldn’t you know it? One of them was all about how to keep your thoughts and motives pure and avoid getting angry or stressed-out in the face of political situations.

It was 11:30 by the time I finished reading and decided to get ready for bed. I knew the election returns were probably in by that point, so I decided to get online and see what was going on.

I had the most profound sense of calm as I started surfing political sites in search of election results, and it occurred to me all at once that what I’d really been craving at dinner was not food, but peace.

That’s an order worth supersizing.