“Good morning, Bob. How are you?”
That was the exchange I overheard early one morning and it has shifted something in me profoundly. It isn’t like I haven’t contemplated “busy” quite a lot the last year and the impact on me, the people I serve and the larger world, but that moment brought those things that had been brewing together. Like a really good cup of tea. Since that fateful day I have had several people talk to me and say, “but I know you are busy, pastor.” Or “I just don’t have time because I am too busy.” and I have to wonder when we as a people became obsessed with “busy”. It has, I think, become a social acceptable and desirable way to either numb our emotions or to make sure we are worthy of life. If we are busy enough we don’t have to listen to the voice in our heart that wants to work out the pain or we can say we are worthy of love. Here is the problem with this: when we don’t take the time to listen to our heart or allow ourselves to be loved simply because we are, we also decrease the amount of joy and peace and other light emotions we may have the chance to experience. Not only that, but we can’t hear God. We can’t hear what God would have us do or be, we can’t hear the words of love and promise that God is always trying to get us to know. Instead, we keep moving, keep filling our days with other things (even though they are probably good things) and we slowly die inside.
Lent is the chance to reverse the “busy” syndrome. It is a call back to the heart of God, back to the love and warmth and strength that is an antidote to the cold world that in myriad ways tells we are not enough and not worthy.
I haven’t been the best a practicing my spiritual discipline this month. I have found myself letting “busy” win, it is so much easier sometimes. However, I also find my energy is diminished, my desire to be attentive to my own wellbeing decreased and my joy has waned. These are not good things. Yet God calls me back, ever gracious and loving, to experience rest and wholeness in the quiet of a busy world shutdown. When I take my 5 minutes of stillness in the morning or my 15 minutes of reflection at night, when I pray and read scripture, I can hear myself and hear God’s spirit comforting, assuring and challenging me.
So, nearly three weeks in to Lent, I am taking up the call again to the discipline of Lent. How about you? How are you shutting out “busy” and listening for God, listening for your heart?