It has been many months since I have posted a blog entry, something about which I am a bit embarrassed. Over that time I have regularly excused myself from this task by buying into the cult of “busyness” in our culture. Being busy is a badge of honor in our society, and I’ve been wearing my badge for many months now. Being engaged in life is certainly a good thing, but I reference the excessive commotion we sometimes embrace. It does damage to our relationships and our sense of self.
I had a conversation with a colleague today about changes I have observed during my decades in education. While there is considerable truth to the adage that kids are kids no matter the time and place, but one change I would suggest is that young people today are much more adept at interactive technologies, but not as highly developed regarding interpersonal and introspective schools. And, among other things, the busyness cult is responsible for some of that. Adults bear considerable responsibility for this phenomenon.
The above has been very much on my mind because of something that I read this past weekend: a piece in the Forward Day by Day daily meditation and prayer guide. Saturday’s entry focused on a passage from the Book of Haggai, the work of a so-called minor prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures. The reflection focused on a single old-fashioned and quaint word, abide, and its connotation of stillness and lack of movement. In our abiding, we find the Spirit of God. I am reminded of the inscription that Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung had carved above his door:
Busyness will always find us—and overwhelm us at times. We must consciously choose abiding. In this busy holiday season, I encourage readers to give themselves the gift of abiding and discover the Spirit that abides in that stillness. Or as the late Jesuit poet and activist Daniel Berrigan once put it: Don’t just do something—stand there.
Until next time,