While Dallas Willard is correct in saying that “reality is what you run into when you’re wrong,” sometimes it feels more like a sneak attack than a running into. In our current season of life, life looks like busyness. I have studied the dangers of busyness, written about the dangers of busyness and professed never to fall into the camp of busyness, but here we are. I confess, we are busy.
“However,” I argue with myself, “these things we are doing are good.” Soccer-good. Orchestra- good. Seminary-good. School-good. Track- good. Piano- good. Violin- good. Worship team- good. Community-good. Spiritual direction- good. Goats- good.
The sneak attack came one Tuesday evening as I sat to center down and engage in Ignatian Examen of my soul.
“For what was I most grateful today?” Like looking for lost keys, I began rummaging around my memory for the events of the day. I had a hard time coming up with concrete details for a solid something. Sure I was grateful for my kids, but what specifically for today? What did we do today?
Perhaps a different question, “For what was I least grateful today?” I could always go for the finitude of the human person, but maybe there was something deeper going on?
Next question, “When did I most connect with God and others, or myself?”
And there it was. Busyness, good or bad aside, lacks the power to connect. I couldn’t answer any of the questions; because although I was there physically my other bits were absent- in fact we might say I wasn’t even aware that my body was having a Tuesday.
The parts of us are interconnected, influencing each other and guided by our spirit connected to the Spirit. In the state of busyness, these parts disconnect and go on autopilot. While we can be thankful that breathing is on autopilot, we can easily slip from present to absent. My body can show up, but the rest is out to lunch or more accurately on to the next task or managing my To Do list.
In the past I’ve had a great desire to find hard and fast rules of simplicity. I’ve had trouble nailing down those that don’t lead me into legalism when it comes to time, until the sneak attack.
Perhaps presence is a good thermostat for busyness.
Today, the number of items on my list is determined by my capacity to show up to them. Really show up with all my parts.
I am present at my daughter’s soccer game in body, feeling the grass under my feet the sun on my face and using my voice to cheer her on. I am present in mind and heart as I listen when a parent tells of their struggle with the school system. I am present to the Spirit as she whispers in the wind her great love for every child on the field.
Perhaps this is the speed of the soul.
May the peace and pace of Christ guide us.