We’ve all been in this conversation more times than we can possibly count: you run into an acquaintance, maybe on the Metro, in the grocery store, in the back of church; you both say “Hey, how’s it goin’?”; and you both answer, almost in unison, “Good–busy.” And you both sigh and smile, exchange one or two more pleasantries, and move on. That one word–“busy”–at once captures and kills the entire conversation. That’s it. There’s nothing else to say.
I’ll harp on this again. It’s so easy to get caught up in just going through the motions. Work, religious obligations, social functions, taking care of the apartment, phoning home, maintaining friendships, sleeping, exercising, all the ins and outs of daily life that make up the blur we refer to with a sigh as “busy.” Maybe you all are better about this than I, but most of the time when I refer to myself as “busy,” I can’t actually remember what it is I’ve had going on that’s kept me running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken. With one word I dismiss my entire life as a blur that doesn’t even bear discussing. And I quietly brush aside the solicitous inquiries of my friends, just as they brush aside mine.
And prayer goes the same way. “God, I’m so busy.” Or even worse, as I’m falling into bed at the end of a particularly full day, “I’m sorry I didn’t really have time to pray today, God.”
What is occupying my time? And why am I letting it?
Thank God for Lent. I read a reflection on Ash Wednesday, talking about how Lent is a time to go into the darkness and the silence and just “be” with the Lord. And I know I’ve harped on this before, but here it is again. Why is it so hard just to be? Why is there a tendency to feel that being in itself is somehow insufficient? We do and do and do, to the point where we forget there’s so much more to us than our activities. I’m looking forward to pushing some of the extra “stuff” out of my life, at least for the next 40 days, and focusing on being with Him in silence.
Happy Lent, everybody. May it be a holy and still time for you.