Busy?   1 comment

I remember hearing that the time when the most lies are told each week is the hour after church each Sunday. This is the time when we ask each other how we are doing and most of the time we reply “Fine” with complete disregard as to how we actually feel. When I also learned that to reply “ fine” when Maggie asked for an opinion on her appearance was the equivalent of somewhere between “awful” and “I don’t care” I realized this was a word I should think carefully before using.

Another word that I have been challenged to think carefully about is “busy”. A couple of years ago I resolved to try and eliminate it, particularly from my responses to inquiries as to my welfare. I observed that for many of us it was both an automatic reply and a device for reassuring ourselves and others that we are making a valuable contribution to the world. I realize the elimination of a word can be of little value it itself as it is not too hard to find synonyms and press them into use. If however we can use our efforts to avoid the word to prompt us think about why we are using it then perhaps it can make a real contribution to our way of life. I am not sure how well I have done in this process but reading these words from Eugene Peterson in my devotion his morning brought the idea to mind once again.

“I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and heavy demands on my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice- that I am important. If I go into a doctor’s office and find there’s no one waiting, and see through a half-open door the doctor reading a book, I wonder if he’s any good. A good doctor will have people lined up waiting to see him; a good doctor will not have time to read a book, even if it’s a very good book. Although I grumble about waiting my turn in a busy doctor’s office, I am also impressed with his importance. Such experiences affect me. I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance. I want to be important, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance and my vanity is fed.”

“I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. It was a favorite theme of C S Lewis that only lazy people work hard. By lazily abdicating the essential work of deciding and directing, establishing values and setting goals, other people do it for us               Eugene Peterson “ The Contemplative Pastor

SIP has given us an unprecedented chance to review our busyness and the detrimental effect it has on our lives. I recently heard a discussion with a counselor, Cissy Gough, on Q media. She spoke about the current epidemic, not COVID 19, but of anxiety. She said that, with the advent of SIP, anxiety levels in children had, in many cases, decreased because they had more time at home to do things they enjoyed with their parents and families. They were under less pressure. 

Could this be because they and their parents were less busy? 

Of course the sources of “busy” in each of our lives are so varied. Demanding jobs are only one factor there is a plethora of entertainment, travel to games, music lessons and so many other activities that are piled on one after another. And then of course there is church and other community involvement. I could go on and of course many of those activities are wonderful and beneficial but if the cumulative effect is not so great…? So will we have the courage, not only to observe the potential effects of busyness that have become obvious as we SIP, but to actually take steps to reduce its domination of our lifestyle?

Posted May 2, 2020 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

One response to “Busy?

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  1. Thank you Pastor for your eloquent and real words. I am gladdened to hear of less anxiety being another effect of God bringing good out of bad with this virus. Love Michelle

    Michelle Mackay

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